Russia and the United States have agreed to focus on diplomacy with regard to Iran’s nuclear programme and hold back on sanctions.

Speaking after talks with visiting U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said there was a good chance to achieve a diplomatic solution on Iran.

“Threats of new sanctions and pressure against Iran under current circumstances are counterproductive,” said Mr. Lavrov.

“We’re very cautious about sanctions in principle. They rarely give results,” he said at a joint press conference with Ms. Clinton on Tuesday. “There are situations where sanctions cannot be avoided when all other means fail. However, this is not the case with Iran.”

The U.S. Secretary of State agreed that the time for sanctions had not yet come even as she added that sanctions might be inevitable.

“But we are not at that point yet. That is not a conclusion we have reached,” said Ms. Clinton. She praised Moscow for its “extremely cooperative” behaviour on Iran.

Mr. Lavrov said the sides had also made good progress in talks on a new nuclear arms reduction agreement.

“We have made substantial movement forward,” he said. “At the same time, we have discussed issues which have yet to be negotiated and fine-tuned.”

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