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Putin Warns Against Iran Attack

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Russian PM Vladimir Putin has warned against military action targeting Iran or imposing new sanctions to curb its nuclear programme.

Iran's latest proposals on its nuclear ambitions have brought diverging views from the US and Russia.

Iran's nuclear power plant at Bushehr
Iran insists its nuclear programme is for peaceful civilian purposes

Earlier, a US official told the BBC that Washington was unhappy with the proposals, submitted on Wednesday.

Correspondents say parties involved are making their positions clear ahead of the UN General Assembly this month.

President Barack Obama has given Tehran until the end of September to respond to his friendlier overtures or face new sanctions.

But the US and Israel have never ruled out the option of air strikes on Iran to stop it acquiring an atomic weapon.

In contrast to Washington's negative response on Iran's new proposal, Russia's foreign minister described them as a positive step forward and ruled out sanctions on Iran's oil sector.

Terror warning

Mr Putin, speaking in Moscow, said any attack on Iran would be "very dangerous, unacceptable" and would lead to "an explosion of terrorism".

"I doubt very much that such strikes would achieve their stated goal," he added.

However, Mr Putin called on Tehran to "show restraint" in its nuclear programme.

"This is a dangerous region and Iran should show responsibility, especially by taking into account Israel's concerns," he said.

The five-page Iranian proposal was submitted to the group of six global powers negotiating over its nuclear enrichment programme - the five permanent members of the UN Security Council, plus Germany.

Vladimir Putin 11.9.09
Mr Putin has warned Iran to show restraint in its plans

Details have been published on the website of the US non-profit investigative journalism group, ProPublica.

In it, Tehran offers to hold "comprehensive, all-encompassing and constructive" negotiations on a range of security issues, including global nuclear disarmament.

But the document makes no mention of Iran's own nuclear programme.

EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana said on Friday he was seeking an urgent meeting with Iran's chief nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili, after consulting the six powers.

"We are in contact with Dr Jalili's office to arrange a meeting at the earliest possible opportunity," he said in a statement.

"We are all committed to meaningful negotiations with Iran to resolve the international community's concerns about their nuclear programme."

French foreign ministry spokeswoman Christine Fages said they wanted the meeting to take place before the UN General Assembly on 23 September.

Philip Crowley, US Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs, earlier told the BBC's World Today programme that Iran had to prove it was ready to live up to commitments it had made.

"Our concern is that the response itself did not really address what is the core issue of the international community and the core concern, which is Iran's nuclear ambitions," he said.