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31 December 2011 - 08:04

Russia's ambassador to the United Nations says his country is extremely concerned about the current situation in the Persian Gulf and the escalating tensions between Iran and the West.

In an interview with Russia Today on Friday, Vitaly Churkin, said that the conflict looming between Iran and Western countries poses the “greatest danger” to the world in the upcoming year.

“This is a very dangerous scenario,” said Churkin, commenting on the Iranian-Western standoff.

The Russian diplomat added that to avoid serious consequences of the existing circumstances, both sides must seek a peaceful solution through negotiations.

Churkin added that Russia does not “accept the proposition that the best way to prevent a war is to start a war.”

He said Iran should continue negotiate with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) over unresolved problems related to its nuclear program and simultaneously, resume talks with the P5+1 which consists of five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany.

“Our consistent stand, our effort, is going to be targeted at doing whatever we can in order to prevent this scenario of regional catastrophe being carried out in 2012,” he explained.

Director General of IAEA Yukiya Amano released his latest report on Iran's nuclear program on November 8, claiming that Iran had been engaged in activities related to developing nuclear weapons before 2003, which “may still be ongoing.”

The US and its European allies have used the report as an excuse to impose new rounds of financial and energy sanctions against Iran, including proposing an embargo on the country's oil exports.

Iranian officials have been warning the US and Western countries that Tehran may respond to the West's sanctions on its oil sales by closing the strategic Strait of Hormuz.

Iran's Navy is currently conducting a massive 10-day naval drill, codenamed “Velayat 90”, in an area stretching from the east of the Strait of Hormuz in the Persian Gulf to the Gulf of Aden.

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