Russia on Wednesday said sanctions against Iran were more "relevant" after Tehran made moves towards enriching higher-grade nuclear fuel, a deputy foreign minister told Interfax news agency.
"In this new situation of course the question of sanctions, of working out a new sanctions resolution, gains additional relevance," Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov told Interfax.
Russia this week raised serious doubts about Iran's nuclear programm, sending the strongest signal yet that the Kremlin could support further sanctions against the Islamic Republic.
But Ryabkov also said sanctions were not the answer to the problem and complained that Western powers were trying to press Russia into supporting them.
Russia, which wields a veto in the United Nations Security Council - has been deeply disappointed by Tehran's refusal to send uranium abroad for enrichment in Russia, a deal Moscow hoped could allay Western fears that Iran is trying to make a nuclear bomb, a charge the Islamic Republic has denied.
Earlier Wednesday, Iran said it believes a nuclear fuel exchange with the West is still possible, state television said.
"The deal is still on the table," Ali Akbar Salehi, head of Iran's Atomic Energy Organization, said on English-language Press TV.