Russia will not support "crippling" sanctions against Iran,
including any that may be slapped on the Islamic Republic's banking or energy sectors, a senior Russian diplomat said on Wednesday.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
visited Moscow last week to press the Kremlin to back tougher sanctions against Iran over its suspected nuclear weapons project.
This week, Netanyahu called for an immediate embargo
on Iran's energy sector.
"We are not got going to work on sanctions or measures which could lead to the political or economic or financial isolation of this country," Oleg Rozhkov, deputy director of the security affairs and disarmament department at Russia's Foreign Ministry, told reporters.
"What relation to non-proliferation is there in forbidding banking activities with Iran? This is a financial blockade. And oil and gas. These sanctions are aimed only at paralyzing the country and paralyzing the regime."
Iran has the world's second-largest crude oil reserves, but desperately needs investment to develop them. It denies working to develop a nuclear warhead but insists on its right to create nuclear power-generating capacity.
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
has called for the destruction of the Jewish state.
His government supports the Shite Hezbollah
militia in Lebanon,
which Israel fought in a 2006 war,
and the Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas,
the target of Israel's December 2008-January 2009 offensive
to put a stop to rocket fire from militias in the Gaza Strip.