In an interview with the Kuwaiti News Agency KUNA, Sergei Lavrov said: "We will oppose any attempts to use the [UN] Security Council for punishing Iran or to use Iran's program in order to promote the ideas of regime change there."
Next week, the Council will consider a draft sanctions resolution against Iran, which has failed to respond to a package of incentives offered to it in June by the five permanent members and Germany, and has insisted on its right to enrich uranium to obtain nuclear fuel. Russia and China, two of the veto-wielding powers, remain opposed to any punitive measures against Tehran.
However, Lavrov did acknowledge the need to safeguard the nuclear nonproliferation regime, and called on Tehran to resume cooperation with the UN nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency.
"We believe the Iranian side must fully cooperate with the IAEA to close all outstanding issues," he said.
U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is expected to raise the issue of anti-Iranian sanctions in Moscow Saturday, during her one-day visit officially focusing on North Korea.