Putin Puts U.S. on Notice that Iran Sanctions Would be “Premature”

COMMENTARY Global Politics

Putin Puts U.S. on Notice that Iran Sanctions Would be “Premature”

Oct 15, 2009 1 min read
James Phillips

Visiting Fellow, Allison Center for Foreign Policy Studies

James Phillips is a visiting fellow for Middle Eastern affairs at The Heritage Foundation.

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin further undermined U.S. efforts to present a united front against Iran’s nuclear program by ruling out talking about sanctions, which he said would be “premature.” Putin told reporters in Beijing, where he was attending a meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, that “There is no need to frighten the Iranians.” Putin’s comments came a day after Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov called sanctions “counterproductive” after meeting with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton who had traveled to Moscow in search of solidarity over how to respond to Iran’s nuclear challenge.

Clinton left Moscow empty-handed on her first trip there as Secretary of State, amid growing criticism that the Obama Administration’s effort to “hit the reset button” with Russia had failed to bring any tangible benefits on the Iran issue. Lavrov did express satisfaction that he and Clinton had made “considerable progress” towards reaching agreement on a new strategic arms treaty that would constitute the most intrusive weapons inspections that the United States has ever agreed to. The repressive regime in Tehran is likely to take great comfort in these developments: Iran’s ally Russia not only is pulling the rug out from under any effective sanctions campaign, but it is forcing the Obama Administration to retreat on yet another front.

This piece originally appeared in The Daily Signal