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Russian Official: Sanctions Would Make Iran a New North Korea

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Thursday told European Union lawmakers his country wants Iran to stop its nuclear activities and renewed Moscow's offer to conduct uranium enrichment for Iran's nuclear facilities in Russia, a senior deputy said.

Lavrov confirmed after meeting the European Parliament's foreign affairs committee that Iran was on the agenda, but left without making any specific comments to journalists.

"He said no to Iran's military nuclear capacities, no to enrichment capacities, and he renewed his proposal that the enrichment should take place on Russian soil," said committee chairman Elmar Brok, a German conservative.

Enriching uranium in Russia for Iran would guarantee the uranium was not enriched to the high level needed for nuclear weapons

Lavrov also reiterated his opposition to the threat of sanctions or the use of force against Iran, Brok said.

Russia and China have balked at the British, French and U.S. efforts for a resolution under Chapter 7 of the U.N. Charter. Such a move would declare Iran a threat to international peace and security and set the stage for further measures, which could range from breaking diplomatic relations to economic sanctions and military action, if Tehran refuses to comply.

"One approach is immediate sanctions — economic, trade, but that will lead Iran to withdraw and become a second North Korea. Than we can only sit and wait. Or we take military action, but is there anyone in the room that wants that?" Lavrov told the lawmakers, according to the transcript of Lavrov's answers to the committee, obtained by the Associated Press.

Lavrov's comments came after Iran rejected European plans for incentives to his country to give up its uranium enrichment program.

A high-level, six-nation meeting on Iran was postponed Wednesday until at least next week, reflecting differences between the United States and its allies on one side, and the Chinese and Russians on the other.