Iran slams US for imposing sanctions, Putin warns
26/10/2007 Iran said Thursday the latest "hostile policies" taken by the United States were counter to international law, and accused Washington of hypocrisy. Earlier, the US declared the Revolutionary Guards a "proliferator of weapons of mass destruction", a reference to ballistic missiles they are allegedly developing, while their elite overseas operations arm, the Quds Force, was singled out as a "supporter of terrorism". The US has stepped up its sanctions on Iran for "supporting terrorists" and pursuing nuclear activities. The new measures target the finances of Iran's Islamic Revolution Guards Corps and three state-owned banks. US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said the moves were part of "a comprehensive policy to confront the threatening behavior of the Iranians".
"Today, Secretary Paulson and I are announcing several new steps to increase the costs to Iran of its irresponsible behavior," Rice said, who made the announcement alongside Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson.
The US has repeatedly accused Iran of destabilizing Iraq and Afghanistan, blaming the Revolutionary Guards for supplying and training "insurgents". Several Democratic presidential candidates, though not front-runner Hillary Clinton, said they were worried the White House had begun a march to war.
"I am deeply concerned that once again the president is opting for military action as a first resort," said Connecticut Sen. Christopher Dodd, a long-shot Democratic candidate. It is the first time the United States has sought to take such measures against another country's military. Russia and some other U.S. allies believe dialogue rather than more punishment or military action is the way forward.
Meanwhile, Russia's President Vladimir Putin warned strongly against new international sanctions on Iran, saying they would lead to a dead end. Putin, in Portugal for a summit with leaders of the European Union, said the standoff over Iran's nuclear program should be resolved through talks, pointing at North Korea as an example. "Why worsen the situation and bring it to a dead end by threatening sanctions or military action," Putin said.