View Full Version : Putin Denounces "Madman" With Knife Approach To Iran

10-26-2007, 08:44 AM
Putin Denounces 'Madman' With Knife Approach to Iran


By Sebastian Alison

Oct. 25 (Bloomberg) -- Russian President Vladimir Putin denounced what he called the "madman waving a knife" approach to diplomatic negotiations aimed at curbing Iran's nuclear program.

The U.S. today ratcheted up sanctions against Iran, saying the Iranian military's Revolutionary Guard Corps is involved in the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and its Quds force supports terrorism. The Bush administration has refused to rule out military action against Iran.

"To run around like a madman waving a knife is not the best way forward," Putin said in response to a reporter's question at a Lisbon press conference today, following talks with Portuguese President Anibal Cavaco Silva. "Why drive the situation into a dead end?"

The U.S. contends that Iran's uranium enrichment program is aimed at developing a nuclear weapon. Iran, the second-largest oil producer in the Middle East, denies that, saying it only wants to generate electrical power. The new U.S. sanctions freeze any U.S. assets of the Iranian military and prohibits Americans from doing business with it, putting pressure on foreign companies to cut economic ties with Iran.

Putin was in Iran last week for talks with President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and leaders of all other countries with a Caspian Sea coastline. They agreed none of the Caspian states would allow their territory to be used to launch an attack on Iran. Putin told French President Nicolas Sarkozy in Moscow Oct. 9 there's no evidence Iran is developing a nuclear weapon.

"We are categorically against breaking all norms of international law," Putin said today. Putin has repeatedly said that only the United Nations is empowered to take further action to limit Iran's nuclear ambitions.

The Russian leader is in Lisbon for a summit tomorrow near the Portuguese capital with leaders of the European Union, whose rotating presidency Portugal currently holds. He denied a questioner's suggestion that Russian-EU ties are at a low point after disagreements on a range of issues, from Russia's use of natural gas pricing to bully its neighbors to the future status of Kosovo.

"I don't think our relations are at such a poor level," he said, while acknowledging that "yes, we have questions on which our positions do not coincide."

He cited the case of Kosovo, a province of Serbia which has been under UN administration since 1999, and whose ethnic Albanian-majority population seeks independence. Russia is a traditional ally of Serbia, which doesn't want to lose Kosovo, and opposes nationhood for the region.

"What's our position based on: defending a principale of law," said Putin, who has frequently stressed the dangers of allowing separatist regions to announce they want to break away from central control. "Why inflame these tendencies of separatism," he said, citing examples of ethnic tensions in EU member states Romania and Belgium.

The EU-Russia summit tomorrow isn't likely to reach any major breakthroughs. The defining text governing relations between the two sides, the Partnership and Cooperation Agreement, expires at the end of the year and a new one must be negotiated and agreed to. Both sides have said they don't expect this process to start tomorrow.

10-26-2007, 09:33 AM
Putin has repeatedly said that only the United Nations is empowered to take further action to limit Iran's nuclear ambitions. Call me a silly goose, but didn't we invade Iraq against the UN vote?