Iran should not be threatened: Russia
Russia has denounced threatening Iran with tougher sanctions or use of force as counterproductive, insisting that the deadlock over Iran's nuclear program can be resolved only through diplomatic means.
Speaking at a press conference in Moscow on Thursday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov warned against "stirring up frenzy" regarding the Islamic Republic's peaceful nuclear program, adding that the United States' recent call to ramp up pressure against Tehran as well as Israel's scheme to threaten Iran with the use of force will be "counterproductive," a Press TV correspondent reported.
On Tuesday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called for "a credible military option against Iran" in an attempt to coerce Tehran into moving towards halting its nuclear program activities.
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, on the other hand, sought to trump up support among Iran's neighboring states to further enforce the Washington-sponsored sanctions against Tehran as she embarked on a tour of Middle East countries this week.
The remarks came forth days after Iran's envoy to the International Atomic Energy Agency Ali Asghar Soltanieh said on Tuesday that a host of envoys representing "geographical and political groups in Vienna of the countries represented in the IAEA have been invited to visit Natanz enrichment facilities and Arak heavy water reactor.
Meanwhile, Russian foreign minister hailed Iran's invitation of a group of foreign diplomats to tour its nuclear facilities, saying Tehran's decision "deserves attention."
"We believe that any gesture that indicates greater openness from Tehran should be welcomed," Lavrov said during the press conference on Thursday.
Iran and the P5+1 representatives held their previous round of multifaceted talks in the Swiss city of Geneva on December 6-7, during which both sides agreed to hold the next round of negotiations in the Turkish city of Istanbul in late January.