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Russia, China Urge Caution In Iran Nuclear Dispute --> Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov (file photo) (ITAR-TASS) 17 January 2006 -- Moscow and Beijing have urged caution in dealing with the dispute over Iran's nuclear program.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told journalists today that sanctions were not the best way of persuading Iran to heed international concerns over its resumption of nuclear-fuel research.

In Beijing, Foreign Ministry spokesman Kong Quan said a diplomatic resolution would be in the interests of all parties.

However, neither said how their countries would deal with moves to have Iran reported to the United Nations Security Council for possible sanctions.

On 16 January, Britain's Foreign Office said Britain, Germany, and France would call for an emergency meeting in February of the UN's nuclear monitoring body, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), which could vote on such a referral.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said on 16 January that Moscow's position on the Iranian nuclear issue was "very close" to that of European countries and the United States.

British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw suggested on 13 January that any military intervention against Iran was out of the question.

Iran's ambassador to the nuclear agency, Foreign Ministry Deputy Director-General for Political and International Affairs Ali-Asghar Soltanieh, warned today that Tehran would suspend its cooperation with it if the country is referred to the Security Council.

The United States and other Western governments have accused Iran of pursuing nuclear weapons, a charge that Iranian officials have consistently rejected.

(AP, AFP, Reuters)

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