Russia Pushes Back from U.S. Sanctions Effort

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Russia declared, Tuesday, that it is not on board with U.S. efforts to threaten tough new sanctions against Iran, presenting a setback for President Obama's attempt at penalties against Tehran.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton met with the Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov during her visit to Moscow Tuesday.

Lavrov told Clinton that the threat of sanctions on Iran would be counterproductive.

"At the current stage, all forces should be thrown at supporting the negotiating process," Lavrov said. "Threats, sanctions and threats of pressure in the current situation, we are convinced, would be counterproductive."

Clinton was hoping for Russian agreement on sanctions if Iran fails to prove that its nuclear program is peaceful.

"We have always looked at the possibility of sanctions in the event that we are not successful," she said. "We cannot assure ourselves and others that iran has not  decided to pursue nuclear weapons."

Last month, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said that sanctions are rarely productive, but "in some cases they are inevitable."

Lavrov defended Medvedev's statement saying that penalties would be considered only when all other efforts are exhausted.

Iran continues to insist that its nuclear enrichment program is peaceful and only used for energy purposes.

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