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Russia: Western sanctions against Iran stifling

Written By Ivan Kolev on Wednesday, January 18, 2012 | 5:51 PM

MOSCOW –  Russia's foreign minister has strongly criticized Western sanctions against Iran, saying they are "stifling" the Iranian economy and hurting the population.

Sergey Lavrov said Wednesday that the European Union's sanctions could stymie efforts to solve the Iranian nuclear standoff through talks.

Lavrov said at a news conference that the EU's sanctions against Tehran were aimed at hurtuing the Iranian economy and provoking public discontent.

Moscow, which built Iran's first nuclear power plant, backed some of the previous U.N. sanctions against Iran, but in recent months has firmly rejected imposing any new sanctions and called for dialogue.

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