Visiting Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on Wednesday brushed off Israel's call for quick international action against Iran over its nuclear program, saying the matter is "too serious to be guided by politics."
Lavrov also suggested that Russia will not pursue U.N. sanctions against Syria. The U.S., France and Britain want the Security Council to consider sanctions after last week's U.N. report alleging Syrian involvement in the killing of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri.
"Our aim is not to adopt sanctions as an aim in itself but to make sure that the culprits in the assassination of Prime Minister Hariri are brought to justice," Lavrov said after a meeting with his Palestinian counterpart, Nasser Al Kidwa. As one of the five permanent members of the council, Russia can veto any of the body's decisions.
Lavrov said Russia will accept the results of the inquiry and has urged Syria to cooperate with the commission. The report implicated top Syrian and Lebanese security officials and accused Syria of not cooperating with the probe. Syria denies the allegations.
Israeli officials have long considered Iran to be the biggest threat to their country, and accuse the Tehran government of pursuing nuclear weapons and missile technology that could be used against the Jewish state.
At a joint news conference with Lavrov, Israeli Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom said Israel believes Iran is "very close" to obtaining the knowledge to produce a nuclear bomb. "That is why all of us should be very determined to move the Iranian (issue) to the Security Council," he said.
Lavrov said that Russia will follow the lead of the International Atomic Energy Agency, which is investigating the Iranian nuclear program, and believes that talk of sanctions is premature.
The U.S. has been leading the international effort to pursue sanctions against Iran. Tehran says its nuclear program is solely for peaceful purposes.
The IAEA board last month declared Iran in violation of the nuclear arms-control treaty, opening the way to Security Council referral when the 35-nation board meets Nov. 24. But the chances of referral were weakened earlier this month after Iran agreed to provide sensitive documents and other access to IAEA investigators, reported AP.
You can read: Syria blames UN for fabricating report on Rafik Hariri's assassination T.P.