Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton is in favor of tough sanctions for Iran if it cannot prove its nuclear program is of a peaceful nature. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Tuesday that homegirl needs to fall back from the tough talk, which would not be terribly productive in dealing with Iran or its president, Mahmoud Ahmedinejad. From the AP:
"At the current stage, all forces should be thrown at supporting the negotiating process," he told reporters at a joint news conference with Clinton. "Threats, sanctions and threats of pressure in the current situation, we are convinced, would be counterproductive."
Clinton, on her first visit to Moscow as secretary of state, had been looking to gauge Russia's willingness to join the United States in applying additional pressure on Iran to come clean about its nuclear intentions.
Russia, along with China, has traditionally balked at sanctions but there had been indications that that opposition might be softening after Tehran last month disclosed a previously secret uranium enrichment site near the holy city of Qom.
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said then that while sanctions are rarely productive "in some cases they are inevitable." Lavrov stressed on Tuesday that Medvedev meant only that sanctions would be considered when all political and diplomatic efforts are exhausted.
Clinton, who met later with Medvedev, said she had not asked for Moscow's specific support for actually imposing sanctions. But U.S. officials said they were disappointed that Lavrov had come out against even the threat of new penalties.
Dang! Even Russia won't let us try to push people around! Is the Russian Foreign Minister onto something regarding the sanctions or Hillary right to let Iran know what time it is?