Friday, June 02, 2006

Big power deal on Iran excludes use of force - Lavrov

An offer to Iran worked out in Vienna by major world powers to persuade Tehran to halt work that could produce nuclear weapons excludes the use of military force, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Friday.

"I can say unambiguously that all the agreements from yesterday's meetings rule out in any circumstances the use of military force," Lavrov was quoted by RIA news agency as saying on his return to Moscow from Vienna. READ MORE

Lavrov said no deadline had been set for Iran to reply to the proposals put forward by the United Nations Security Council five permanent members plus Germany and the European Union, but he saw a time-frame of several weeks.

Lavrov said that if the Islamic Republic rejected the proposals the major powers would have the full right to return to discussion of a draft resolution on Iran in the Security Council.

But he added that there was no call for sanctions against Iran in this resolution.

Opposition by Russia and China -- permanent Security Council members along with the United States, Britain and France -- to any trigger for tough sanctions on Iran dragged out the talks with Western powers for weeks.