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News number: 8801230995

15:42 | 2009-04-12

Politics

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Russia Rejects Trade-Off with US on Iran

TEHRAN (FNA)- Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov stood firm on Moscow's relations with Tehran, saying Moscow would never trade-off Iran for better relations with the US.



"Any trade-offs would be unprincipled and unrealistic," Lavrov said in a speech to a group of political strategists on Saturday.

"They would undermine trust in our diplomacy, and we cherish that trust no less than others," he added, asserting that Russia would never agree to increase pressure on Iran.

Western media last month cited unnamed senior officials in Washington saying that President Barack Obama could drop the plans to place a missile shield in Central Europe if Russia helped to persuade Iran to halt uranium enrichment activities.

The former US administration was pursuing a plan to install 10 missile interceptors in Poland and related radar stations in the Czech Republic, mainly as a move to counter what it claimed Iran's missile threat.

Reminding Iran's significant regional and international role, Lavrov noted, "It (Iran) is our neighbor, it's a country which can play a very important role in solving a number of acute international issues, such as the situation in Afghanistan, Iraq and different aspects of Mideast peace settlement."

Senior Russian officials have repeatedly ruled out the possibility of a trade-off between Moscow-Tehran ties and the US missile program.

Russia's foreign minister on Thursday underlined that there is no evidence that Iran's nuclear program has military goals, and rejected claims that the US needs to install missile inceptors in Europe due to Iran's advancement in nuclear missile technology.

Last Tuesday, Russia's Ambassador to the US Sergei Kislyak strongly criticized Washington's plan to install missile inceptors in Europe, and dismissed the raison d'être for the US move, saying that Iran's threat is just a myth.