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New sanctions against Iran possible, says Russia

Russia said on Friday that Iran may face sanctions over its controversial nuclear programme although the issue is not currently being discussed at the UN Security Council.

world Updated: Feb 19, 2010 19:36 IST

Russia said on Friday that Iran may face sanctions over its controversial nuclear programme although the issue is not currently being discussed at the UN Security Council.

"The UN Security Council is not working on a resolution on possible sanctions at the moment, but in the wake of the recent developments, we cannot completely rule out the beginning of this work," foreign ministry spokesman Andrei Nesterenko said in a statement.

The statement is a further indication that Russia, a veto-wielding Security Council member, is joining Western pressure for a new set of sanctions over uranium enrichment activities that can be used in weapons production. Tehran insists it needs nuclear technology to generate electricity.

Referring to a classified report, UN nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency, said Thursday Iran may be working now to develop nuclear arms. It also confirmed Iran had enriched its first batch of uranium to a higher 20 percent grade.