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Russia: Western Support for Arab Revolts May Cause a ‘Big War’, Warns Against Meddling With Iran and Syria as UN Probes Iranian Nuclear Military Drive

01/19/2012 Leave a comment

By ELLEN BARRY and MICHAEL SCHWIRTZ – “MOSCOW — Russia’s foreign minister, Sergey V. Lavrov, warned Wednesday that outside encouragement of antigovernment uprisings in the Middle East and North Africa could lead to ‘a very big war that will cause suffering not only to countries in the region, but also to states far beyond its boundaries.’

Mr. Lavrov’s annual news conference was largely devoted to a critique of Western policies in Iran and Syria, which he said could lead to a spiral of violence…

Mr. Lavrov said foreign governments were arming ‘militants and extremists’ in Syria, and he gave a bristling response to Susan E. Rice, the American ambassador to the United Nations, who on Tuesday expressed concern about possible Russian arms shipments to Syria.

‘We don’t find it necessary to explain or justify anything,’ Mr. Lavrov said. ‘We are only trading goods with Syria that are not prohibited by international law.’

Mr. Lavrov offered a similarly grave message about the possibility of a military strike against Iran, which he said would be a ‘catastrophe.’ He said sanctions now being proposed against Tehran were ‘intended to have a smothering effect on the Iranian economy and the Iranian population, probably in the hopes of provoking discontent.'” Read more.

UN to probe ‘military angle’ to Iran nuclear drive – “A high-level IAEA delegation visiting Iran January 29-31 aims to verify if Tehran’s nuclear programme has a military dimension, the head of the UN nuclear watchdog said in an interview to be published Thursday. ‘We wish to simply verify all that has a military dimension… and I simply want Iran to cooperate,’ Yukiya Amano told Financial Times Deutschland. Iran denies Western accusations of a military nuclear drive, saying its programme is geared toward peaceful ends.” Read more.

IDF Chief Gantz: We must ‘prepare for the worst’ in wake of Mideast tumult – “The world needs to ‘prepare for the worst’ in wake of the ongoing upheaval in the Middle East due to the proliferation of weaponry throughout the world and into the hands of terrorist organizations, IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Benny Gantz warned on Wednesday. Addressing a meeting of NATO military commanders at the western military alliance in Brussels, Gantz said that the world needed to ‘strengthen moderate elements and weaken the radicals.’ ‘Only through joint work combining tough and soft power can we deter and in the long term overcome these radical elements,’ Gantz said. Earlier in the day, Gantz met with the Canadian and Italian chiefs of staff. Gantz said that NATO’s decision to establish a missile defense system throughout Europe was a demonstration of the severity non-conventional weapons pose to the world.” Read more.

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