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Medvedev says sanctions against Iran not 'optimal'

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(KATAKAMI / CNN)  Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said new sanctions against Iran for its nuclear program are possible, but not “optimal,” the Kremlin press service said Saturday, according to a state-run news agency.

“The settlement of Iran’s nuclear problem should be implemented solely by politic-diplomatic means in strict accordance with the Charter of the United Nations,” Medvedev said at the annual summit of the 22-nation Arab League, news agency RIA Novosti reported.

“[We are] certain that the path of sanctions is not an optimal one,” he said, the news agency reported. “At the same time, the possibility that events may develop along this scenario cannot be ruled out.”

Russia shares some common trade and energy interests with Iran, and in the past has used its veto vote at the U.N. Security Council to shield Iran from strict sanctions. However, the Kremlin has indicated recently that tougher sanctions may be a realistic response to Tehran moving forward with its nuclear enrichment program.

Iran already faces U.N. sanctions. The five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council – the United States, Britain, Russia, China and France, all of which have veto power – have been in discussions about possible further sanctions.

Russia and the other countries have urged the Islamic republic to accept a proposal under which Iran would ship its uranium abroad to be enriched and then returned. Iran has rejected the proposal.

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