Russia says Iran was deaf to its nuclear proposals

MOSCOW Thu May 27, 2010 11:02am BST

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MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia on Thursday rejected Iran's criticism of the Kremlin for supporting draft sanctions, saying that Russian attempts to resolve the crisis over Iran's nuclear programme had repeatedly fallen on deaf ears in Tehran.

In one of the worst rows between the two countries in decades, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Wednesday admonished the Kremlin for bowing to what he said was U.S. pressure to agree sanctions.

Ahmadinejad bluntly warned President Dmitry Medvedev to be more cautious or risk being seen as an enemy of the Islamic Republic. The Kremlin told the Iranian president to refrain from "political demagoguery."

When asked by a reporter about Ahmadinejad's tirade, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said that he viewed the comments as "emotional."

Underscoring Moscow's growing impatience with Iran, Lavrov said that Russian leaders had tried repeatedly to resolve the dispute but that Tehran had failed to respond properly.

"To our great regret, during years -- not just months -- Iran's response to these efforts has been unsatisfactory, mildly speaking," Lavrov said at a briefing in Moscow.

Lavrov also said that a nuclear fuel swap deal agreed between Iran, Turkey and Brazil would be an important breakthrough if implemented.

"We hail this step," he said. "Indeed, if it is fully implemented, it will... really create very important preconditions for improving the atmosphere for resuming talks."

(Reporting by Dmitry Solovyov, editing by Guy Faulconbridge)

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