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Putin Says Iran Military Strike ‘Truly Catastrophic’

Vladimir Putin, Russia's prime minister. Photographer: Alexander Zemlianichenko Jr./Bloomberg
Vladimir Putin, Russia's prime minister. Photographer: Alexander Zemlianichenko Jr./Bloomberg

Feb. 27 (Bloomberg) -- Russian Prime Minister and presidential front-runner Vladimir Putin warned Western leaders against a military strike on Iran in the latest of a series of articles published before his country’s March 4 elections.

“Without a doubt, Russia is concerned about the growing threat of a military strike on this country,” Putin said. “If this happens the fallout would be truly catastrophic.”

Officials from the International Atomic Energy Agency were denied access to Iran’s Parchin military base earlier this month, raising concern over a weapons component to the country’s atomic program that the U.S. and Israel have signaled might prompt an attack.

Today’s article in Russian newspaper Moskovskiye Novosti became the last in a series of comments on foreign policy issues made during Putin’s election campaign for the Kremlin. Last week he said that the West is seeking to bring about a regime change in Iran under the guise of stamping out its nuclear-arms ambitions.

The U.S. has a “fundamentally different understanding of security from ours,” he said. NATO enlargement and U.S. plans for a missile-defense system in Europe “shatter Russia’s security and work against stability in the world.”

Balance of Power

Last week the Russian prime minister also accused the U.S. of “shying away” from negotiations over its missile-defense system and warned that his country will have to develop an asymmetric response to counter the U.S. system in Europe to maintain the balance of power.

Putin said he supports Iran’s development of atomic energy for peaceful purposes. He urged to solve Iran’s problem peacefully and said that sanctions should be dropped if Iran’s program goes under total control of the International Atomic Energy Agency. North Korea’s declared nuclear-weapons ambitions are “unacceptable,” he said in the article published today.

The premier defended Russia’s veto of an Arab League plan presented tis month to the United Nations to facilitate a political transition in Syria. The resolution would act as “a signal for military interference in Syria’s internal processes,” he said.

Syria has come under mounting international pressure as a result of President Bashar Al-Assad’s crackdown on protesters, which is nearing its one-year mark.

Putin said that the resolution would be possible if the UN demanded not only from Assad to withdraw his forces but also from opposition to take away militant units from towns. “Refusal to do so is cynical,” Putin said.

To contact the reporters on this story: Stephen Bierman in Moscow at sbierman1@bloomberg.net; Ilya Arkhipov in Moscow at iarkhipov@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Will Kennedy at wkennedy3@bloomberg.net; Balazs Penz at bpenz@bloomberg.net

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