23:46 GMT +3 hours27 November 2014
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Russia against freezing out Iran - FM Lavrov

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Russia will not endorse measures designed to isolate Iran, the Russian foreign minister said Wednesday.
MOSCOW, November 1 (RIA Novosti) - Russia will not endorse measures designed to isolate Iran, the Russian foreign minister said Wednesday.

The five permanent Security Council members are studying a draft resolution on Iran proposed by Britain, Germany, and France - the so-called EU-3 - that envisions a set of punitive measures against Tehran but allows Moscow to continue its $1 billion nuclear power plant project in the country.

"We will not be able to support measures that are, in effect, aimed at isolating Iran from the outside world, to isolate the people who are supposed to conduct negotiations on the nuclear program," Sergei Ivanov said.

He said the UN draft resolution on Iran, put forward by the EU-3, goes "far beyond the bounds of the Iran-6 [five permanent UN Security Council members plus Germany] agreements."

Lavrov recalled that the six states agreed that UN measures with respect to Iran should be proportionate to the steps taken by Tehran.

Iran, which announced last week that it has launched a second network of gas centrifuges to enrich uranium, may face sanctions for failing to comply with the UN Security Council's demand that it suspend enrichment.

Russia and China, veto-wielding Security Council members with strong business interests in Iran, have consistently opposed sanctions. The two countries have not yet given their formal response to the document, but have insisted on the need for a diplomatic solution.

Lavrov said late last week: "I believe the proposed draft resolution does not meet the objectives set out by the Iran-6."