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Iran Strike Gains Support in Some Nations, Russia Says

(Corrects to show that talks will be held in Baghdad in fifth paragraph in a story originally published May 20.)

Some countries favor more than ever using a military strike to stem Iran’s nuclear ambitions, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said.

Talks this month in Baghdad must show progress on reaching an agreement over the Persian nation’s nuclear program to placate the international community, he said today on a flight as he returned from the Group of Eight meeting in the U.S.

Russia is concerned that an attempt to resolve this problem with military methods is still a possibility,” Ryabkov told reporters. “We periodically get signals publicly and via private channels that certain capitals favor this option much more than they did up to this point.”

The U.S. and European Union allege Iran is seeking to build a bomb, not just make fuel for electricity production and medical research, as the country maintains. The U.S. and EU have imposed financial sanctions on Iran and are pressuring nations including China to buy less of its oil as they seek to curtail its nuclear activities.

The so-called 5+1 group comprising the U.S., U.K., China, Russia and France, with Germany, will meet on May 23 in the Iraqi capital.

Russia opposes an EU embargo on Iranian oil due to take effect July 1 and will seek for it to be “deferred into the future,” Ryabkov said, adding that the sanction will put pressure on oil markets.

“When we have this euro-zone crisis, when we have doubts over the tempo of recovery in many places, I think it’s really irresponsible to introduce such a dramatic measure as an oil embargo,” he said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Stephen Bierman in Moscow at sbierman1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Will Kennedy at wkennedy3@bloomberg.net

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