By Ria Novosti
Russia has ruled out backing Western sanctions against Iran, saying they are aimed at regime change in Tehran.
“Somebody may be viewing the current situation as a window of possibility and cynically go down the path of regime change in Tehran,” Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said in an interview with Index Bezopasnosti magazine published on Wednesday.
“But Russia will not support this course of action,” Ryabkov told the magazine, adding that Russia was seeking a diplomatic solution to the dispute over Tehran’s nuclear program.
Western powers fear Iran wants to make nuclear weapons and have tightened sanctions against the Islamic republic. The European Union will also stop importing Iranian oil from July 1.
Iran says its program is aimed at the production of civilian energy. Last week, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said his country would never stop its program to enrich uranium.
Earlier on Wednesday, Iran began loading domestically-made nuclear fuel rods into a research reactor at its Natanz facility and also unveiled more efficient enrichment centrifuges.
Ryabkov said there were “heaps of examples” where sanctions meant targeting Iranian officials or the country’s oil industry. “What does this have to do with nuclear non-proliferation?” he said.
He also said there was no evidence that Iran was seeking to create a nuclear bomb, but added that there was concern in Moscow that “the space which separates Iran from hypothetically possessing nuclear weapons is diminishing.”
Last week, President Ahmadinejad said Western powers should cease speaking to Iran “from a position of strength” and said that Iran was ready to return to talks with world powers on its disputed nuclear program.
Talks between Iran and six world powers – the United States, Britain, France, Germany, Russia and China – collapsed a year ago.