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Clinton: Not Time Yet for Iran Sanctions


Clinton: Not Time Yet for Iran Sanctions
Clinton: Not Time Yet for Iran Sanctions
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U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton says it is not yet time for additional sanctions against Iran, and said the United States and Russia are working together on the issue. Clinton spoke to reporters in Moscow Tuesday, after meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.

Secretary Clinton praised Moscow for its cooperation on Iran's nuclear program.

The meeting with Foreign Minister Lavrov came after Iran last month disclosed a previously secret uranium enrichment site near the holy city of Qom. Tehran insists its nuclear program is for civilian use only.

Clinton said Tuesday Washington and Moscow agree Iran is entitled to peaceful nuclear energy, without nuclear weapons.

"At the same time that we are very vigorously pursuing this track, we are aware that we might not be as successful as we need to be so we have always looked at the potential of sanctions in the event that we are not successful, that we cannot assure ourselves and others that Iran has decided not to pursue nuclear weapons," she said.

Lavrov called threats to impose new sanctions "counterproductive," saying the international community should push for a diplomatic solution.

"On Iran, we are not asking anything from each other, because it would be ridiculous to ask something on an issue on which our positions coincide," he said. "We want to resolve all issues connected with Iran's nuclear program in a way the country is able to fully enjoy its rights as a non-nuclear member of the Non-Proliferation Treaty and take advantage of all the ensuing opportunities in the field of peaceful nuclear power engineering."

Iranian diplomats have agreed to meet with officials from the U.S., France, Russia and the United Nations to work out a plan for enriching uranium abroad. Those talks are set for October 19 in Vienna.

Three rounds of U.N. Security Council sanctions have so far failed to halt Tehran's uranium enrichment program.

On another matter, Lavrov said the United States and Russia have made "considerable" progress on plans to reduce their nuclear arsenals. The two sides are in negotiations on a treaty to replace the current START (Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty) agreement, which expires in December.