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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Foreign Ministry Scolds U.S. for Its Use of Force

The Foreign Ministry on Tuesday sharply criticized the United States for what it called over-reliance on force and warned Washington against military action against Iran.

But in a major review of foreign policy priorities, the ministry said Moscow was ready to cooperate to end global crises if Washington treated it as an equal partner.

The 70-page document, echoing a tough speech by President Vladimir Putin in Germany last month, reaffirms the country's determination to challenge the United States when it feels it has to -- despite Moscow's recent decision to increase pressure on Iran's nuclear program.

The statement reflects Russia's growing confidence and economic clout, and appears to be a signal to Washington that, while the two nations can work together, Russia will not always follow the U.S. lead.

The document also plays to national pride in advance of parliamentary and presidential elections.

"The international community must not take risks connected to the escalation of the situation around Iran until the United States takes sincere, conscientious efforts to normalize its relations with Tehran," the ministry said. "Attempts to label Tehran as part of an 'axis of evil' and statements about the need for a regime change in Tehran ... exacerbate the situation."

At the same time, the ministry's paper assailed Iran for its "unconstructive" stance, reflecting growing Kremlin irritation with Tehran's refusal to freeze uranium enrichment, as the United Nations demands.

The ministry also hinted that Moscow would tie weapons sales to Tehran to its cooperation on the enrichment program.

The ministry also warned that Russia would defend its economic and political interests in other former Soviet nations.