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Russia, US pull further apart on Iranian nuclear activities

Posted on 13 September 2008

Russian president Dmitry Medvedev said Friday a military solution to the standoff over Iran’s nuclear ambitions is unacceptable and there is no need for new sanctions. At the same time, Washington has imposed new sanctions on Iran, blacklisting a main shipping line and 18 subsidiaries. The US government accuses the maritime carrier of ferrying contraband nuclear material, which Tehran denies.

Washington sources predict this may be the prelude to more series actions, such as a naval blockade to choke off Iran’s imports of fuel products.

Moscow continues to support the European Union’s diplomatic drive to trade incentives for Iran’s consent to curb “some of its nuclear activities.”

Monday, Sept. 15, the nuclear watchdog’s director Mohamed ElBaradei is expected to present a new report on Iran’s controversial neutral program to the IAEA’s board of governors meeting in Vienna.

Tehran has been asked to account for 50-60 tons of missing uranium from its main enrichment site at Isfahan. It is enough to produce five or six nuclear bombs and is suspected of having been diverted to secret sites to boost the covert production of weapons-grade uranium.