Russia Pushes Diplomacy Option with Iran

As the six major powers consider the issue of Iran's nuclear program, the Russians have backed away from any talk of sanctions. Russia's defense minister says that the issue does not warrant the U.N. Security Council considering any introduction of sanctions against Iran, at least for now. He told reporters that Russia wants more political and diplomatic efforts to settle the issue.

STEVE INSKEEP, host:

It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Steve Inskeep.

RENEE MONTAGNE, host:

And I'm Renee Montagne.

We have an update now on Iran. As the sixth major powers consider the issue of Iran's nuclear program, the Russians have backed away from any talk of sanctions.

Russia's defense minister says that the issue does not warrant the U.N. Security Council considering any introduction of sanctions against Iran, at least for now. He told reporters today that Russia wants more political and diplomatic efforts to settle the issue.

INSKEEP: A number of governments are weighing in here, including France. The French government says Iran's response to a proposed package of incentives offered by the major powers is not satisfactory; but at the same time, the French say it's important to avoid escalating this issue.

Iran says it is enriching uranium as part of a civilian nuclear program. The United States and some European countries say Iran is trying to develop nuclear weapons, which is what they want to stop. On Tuesday, Iran offered to start serious talks - as it termed it - over its nuclear program, but there was no sign that it agreed to freeze uranium enrichment.

The U.S. says it's going to wait until a formal United Nations deadline expires at the end of this month before seeking any new measures to coerce or punish Iran over its disputed program.

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