Russia warns against threatening Iran
Russia reacts to reported Israeli preparations for striking Iran, urging the international community to put 'diplomatic momentum' to use, reported PressTv.
"What we have now, for the first time in a while, we have something of a diplomatic momentum on the heels of Mr. [EU foreign policy chief Javier] Solana's trip to Tehran, with a new expanded and enlarged package," Russia's UN ambassador Vitaly Churkin told reporters Friday.
Remarks by the Russian diplomat followed the publication of a New York Times report quoting Pentagon officials as saying that over 100 Israeli F-16s and F-15s staged a maneuver over the eastern Mediterranean and Greece in the first week of June.
According to the report, the Israeli jets flew over 900 miles, roughly the distance from their airfields to a nuclear enrichment facility in the central Iranian city of Natanz, giving rise to speculation that Tel Aviv is laying the foundation for waging war on Iran.
"If things start happening outside of that joint strategy (of the 5+1 Group), like threats of the use of force against Iran or discussion of unilateral sanctions against Iran ... it is distracting from the negotiating process," he warned while declining to comment on the article itself.
Solana recently traveled to Tehran and delivered to Iranian authorities a package of incentives drawn up by the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany.
Under the offer, Tehran is required to halt its nuclear program in exchange for political, security and economic incentives.
While Iran has announced its readiness to hold talks about the package, it has stressed that it would not suspend its uranium enrichment program, repeating its longstanding stance that its nuclear activities are peaceful and carried out within the regulations the International Atomic Energy Organization (IAEA) and in line with the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).