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Russia Says West Trying To Punish Iran In UN Resolution --> Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov (file photo) (Council of Europe) December 20, 2006 -- Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov criticized Western powers today for trying to punish Iran in the UN Security Council's draft resolution on Iran's nuclear program.

Lavrov said Western powers were trying to "turn the situation in their favor" by inserting into the resolution statements that would "de facto lift all limits on restrictions" and could "sever trade and economic ties with Iran in completely legitimate areas."

Lavrov, speaking at a Moscow news conference, also said Russia objects to a proposal to impose a travel ban on specific Iranian officials.

He said such a ban would introduce an unwarranted "element of punishment."

The UN resolution was drafted by Britain and France, along with Germany, and distributed to the Security Council's 15 members. No date for a vote has yet been set because of differences with Russia and China.

(compiled from agency reports)

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