New Iran Sanctions Opposed

The Foreign Ministry made clear Saturday that Russia opposes a Western push for new sanctions against Iran over its nuclear program.

Russia spoke out against a fourth round of UN sanctions against Tehran at a meeting of the five permanent UN Security Council members and Germany in Washington on Friday, the Foreign Ministry said.

Russia stressed the need to draw Tehran into "constructive dialogue," the ministry said in a statement. "In this context, we spoke out against the development at this time of new measures along UN Security Council lines."

Russia agreed to three previous rounds of UN sanctions, but along with China has slowed down their passage and ensured they were less punitive than measures the United States was seeking.

The United States and its European allies are pushing for quick passage of a fourth sanctions resolution to show the international community's resolve amid a crisis in Moscow's ties with Washington and Brussels over last month's conflict in Georgia.

Friday's meeting brought together senior diplomats from the permanent Security Council members -- Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States -- and Germany before talks among their leaders this week on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly session. They had not been expected to decide what the timing or content should be for a fourth Security Council resolution.