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Russian President Leaves Open Possibility for Iran Sanctions


Russia's president has left open the possibility that world powers could impose additional sanctions on Iran for its controversial nuclear program.

Speaking in Moscow, Dmitri Medvedev said that while sanctions are not very effective, they are necessary in some situations.

Next month, Russian mediators are expected to join counterparts from the United States, Britain, France, Germany and China for talks with Iran on global security and economic issues. They are likely to meet in Turkey and although Iran has said its nuclear program is not open for debate, the talks are expected to focus on the controversy.

Russia and China historically have been more reluctant than the United States and European nations to punish Iran for enriching uranium. But the U.S. State Department said Monday that the five permanent U.N. Security Council member countries and Germany will present a "united front" against Iran's nuclear ambitions.

In Vienna Tuesday, Iran's nuclear energy chief Ali Akbar Salehi indicated his government is ready for "deeper cooperation" with United Nations nuclear inspectors. He did not elaborate and the International Atomic Energy Agency did not comment.

European Union foreign policy chief Javier Solana says he is hopeful for progress at the October 1 meeting with Iran because the United States will participate in a formal manner for the first time. U.S. Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs William Burns will represent Washington.

The talks will be Iran's first with world powers in more than a year. Burns attended the last meeting in Geneva in July 2008 as an observer.

Solana says the Western powers will maintain their strategy of offering incentives to Iran to suspend uranium enrichment and threatening further sanctions if Tehran refuses.

Western nations accuse Iran of trying to develop nuclear weapons. Iran says its nuclear program is peaceful and not subject to negotiation.


Some information for this report was provided by AFP and AP.

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