Russia Says U.S. Attack on Iran Would Be Catastrophic (Update2)
Last Updated: September 18, 2007 10:01 EDT
By Sebastian Alison and Henry Meyer
Sept. 18 (Bloomberg) -- A U.S. military strike on Iran would have ``catastrophic consequences,'' Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Losyukov said.
``Bomb attacks on Iran would be a wrong move leading to catastrophic consequences,'' Losyukov said in an interview with newspaper Vremya Novostei, published on the ministry's Web site.
Losyukov's remarks come two days after French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner said the world should ``prepare for the worst'' in the crisis over Iran's nuclear program, and that ``the worst is war.'' In Moscow today, Kouchner said everything must be done to avoid war and called for all sides to ``negotiate, negotiate, negotiate without a break.''
Iran says it's pursuing a nuclear research program to generate energy. The U.S. accuses it of enriching uranium to make a nuclear bomb. The State Department is trying to rally support for a third round of United Nations sanctions against Iran at the Security Council in New York.
Kouchner, who met Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov today, said the international community should work on drawing up sanctions on Iran ``to show our determination'' to achieve a peaceful resolution to the crisis.
Russia won't back new sanctions, Lavrov said after the talks. ``We are very concerned about reports that military action against Iran is being seriously considered,'' he said.
Russia has been building a nuclear reactor at Bushehr in Iran for more than a decade. Construction has slowed in a dispute over payment, although Iran wants it completed as quickly as possible. Losyukov said there are plans to evacuate Russian workers in Iran should they come under attack from a U.S. military strike.
Russian President Vladimir Putin is due in Tehran on Oct. 16 for a meeting of leaders of the countries bordering the Caspian Sea, and Losyukov was asked if Putin might be in danger from U.S. attacks if he attends. ``I think they will refrain before the summit, otherwise they'll have very serious problems,'' he replied.
A U.S. attack on Iran would destabilize the Middle East and lead to ``an extremely negative reaction'' in the Islamic world, Losyukov said, adding that ``use of force would be a serious diplomatic and political mistake.''
Dan Plesch, director of the Center for International Studies and Diplomacy at the School of Oriental and African Studies in London, said a preemptive strike would damage U.S. relations across the region.
``If they do it, they'll destroy everything,'' he said in an interview in London. ``You can destroy Tehran and you will lose Turkey and Egypt, in terms of political action. The U.S. and the Europeans should take a regional approach with a UN Security Council resolution and get Israel involved.''
PHOTO: Russian deputy foreign minister Alexander Losyukov, speaks during an interview in Moscow, Russia, Wednesday, March 14, 2007. Photographer: Dmitry Beliakov/Bloomberg News.
Click to view image: '96416-losyukov.jpg'
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