Russia's Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has come out strongly against a possible U.S.-Israeli attack on Iran, even as he conceded that its nuclear programme evoked concerns.
"Any attack on Iran would be extremely detrimental, very dangerous and absolutely unacceptable," Mr. Putin said in a reply to a question from The Hindu Editor-in-Chief N. Ram at the 6th meeting of the international Valdai Discussion Club in his country residence near Moscow on Friday.
Mr. Putin drew an interesting parallel with India's nuclear programme. "What Iran is doing today is little different from what India did several years ago," he remarked to general laughter.
Russian charismatic Prime Minister added: "The Middle East is an explosive region. Iran has denied any ambition to weaponise its nuclear programme but it must clear international concerns about it." Asking Iran to "exercise restraint," he made it clear that issuing threats to destroy Israel was "absolutely unacceptable to the contemporary world."
However, a military attack was not an option, Mr. Putin stressed. He said a strike at Iran's nuclear facilities would raise a new wave of terrorism and extremism in the region and would not help advance the declared goal of stopping the country from going nuclear. "We must work patiently with Iran towards acceptable solutions - giving Iran access to peaceful nuclear technologies but keeping it from developing nuclear weapons," said the Russian Premier