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Last Updated: Thursday, 24 January 2008, 15:32 GMT
Russia plays down Iran sanctions
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov
Russia's Sergei Lavrov says the new draft calls for "vigilance"
Russia has played down reports that a draft UN resolution on Iran's nuclear programme will call for new sanctions.

Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said the draft agreed on Tuesday did not require tough new measures against Tehran.

But it does call for countries to be vigilant in their trade with Iran, Mr Lavrov said.

Diplomats said on Tuesday the draft agreed by the foreign ministers of the five permanent Security Council members and Germany would impose new sanctions.

Mr Lavrov stressed the draft resolution did not mention strict sanctions, but would call on "countries to be vigilant in developing trade, economic, transport and other relations with Iran so that these relations are not used to transfer illegal, banned materials that can be used in nuclear affairs".

"For as long as the IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency) has unresolved issues regarding Iran, these restrictions will remain in force," he said.

The new draft envisages direct talks with Tehran that would include the United States, he added.

The draft resolution "confirms that in the case of the fulfilment of all conditions contained in the IAEA decisions, the six [countries] will be ready to start talks with Iran on the entire range of relations including trade and economic relations, security issues," he said.

'Peaceful' programme

The German foreign minister said on Tuesday after talks in Berlin with his counterparts from the US, France, the UK, Russia and China that the powers had agreed to a new draft resolution on fresh sanctions.

The US and its European allies want a third set of sanctions over Iran's refusal to suspend uranium enrichment.

Iran insists its nuclear programme is for energy, not military purposes.

The draft will be submitted by Germany, France and the UK for discussion by the full Security Council.

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