Russia may back tough resolution on Iran, says Kremlin-allied lawmaker

A senior Russian lawmaker closely allied to the Kremlin said Friday that Moscow and Beijing may have to acquiesce to a tough U.N Security Council resolution on Iran because of Iranian defiance of international demands to stop enriching uranium, the Interfax news agency reported.

Konstantin Kosachev, the head of the parliamentary foreign affairs committee, said that any resolution would be unlikely to contain any threat of economic sanctions or still less military action, but he conceded that punitive measures could be adopted at a later stage.

Kosachev said it would be "logical" for the Security Council to issue a resolution that would be "obligatory rather than recommended for Iran," according to Interfax.

"This will be a step that Russia and China have been trying to prevent. But unfortunately, since Iran has in fact ignored the Security Council's position of March 30, this step appears to be more and more likely," he said.

"If Iran continues to ignore the international community's position, I do not rule out at that some more distant stage I'd like to stress that the matter could involve the imposition of economic sanctions on Iran," Kosachev was quoted as saying by Interfax.

Russia, which is a major weapons supplier to Tehran and is building an US$800 million (Ђ638 million) nuclear power station in Bushehr, southern Iran, has sought to avoid sanctions against its commercial partner. China, which also has strong economic ties with Iran, has also opposed sanctions.

But Moscow and Beijing are under intense pressure from fellow-members of the Security Council, the United States, Britain and France, to shift position after Iran ignored a 30-day informal deadline to meet council demands to suspend all activities linked to enrichment.

The International Atomic Energy Agency, the U.N nuclear watchdog, in a report on Friday said Iran had defied calls to freeze uranium enrichment and is stonewalling U.N. attempts to find out whether it wants nuclear arms.

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Kislyak said Friday that Moscow would study "very carefully" the report and described it as a "very serious document," Interfax reported.

"We will study this report very carefully with the aim of agreeing a position and possible future steps to resolve the issues surrounding the Iranian nuclear problem," Kislyak was quoted by Interfax as saying.

Iran insists its nuclear program is only to generate power, but many in the West particularly the United States fear Iran is aiming to develop atomic weapons. Enrichment is a process that can produce fuel for a nuclear reactor or fissile material for a weapon, reports AP.

O.Ch.