(Reuters) – Iran and Russia clashed on Wednesday over Kremlin support for draft U.N. sanctions against the Islamic Republic, in one of the worst rows between the two powers since the Cold War.
The public clash indicates growing concern in Tehran after the United States said Russia and China, the closest thing Iran has to big-power allies, had agreed to a draft sanctions resolution to punish Iran over its nuclear program.
In unusually strong criticism of Russia, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad admonished the Kremlin for bowing to what he said was U.S. pressure to agree sanctions and bluntly warned President Dmitry Medvedev to be more cautious.
“If I were the Russian president, when making decisions about subjects related to a great nation (Iran) … I would act more cautiously, I would think more,” Ahmadinejad said in a televised outdoor speech.
He said that Russian support for the United States was unacceptable and that Moscow should rethink its decision or face being viewed as an enemy by Tehran.
Within hours, the Kremlin’s top foreign policy adviser dismissed Ahmadinejad’s criticism, telling the Iranian president to refrain from “political demagoguery.”
“No one has ever managed to preserve one’s authority with political demagoguery. I am convinced, the thousand-year history of Iran itself is evidence of this,” Sergei Prikhodko said in a statement read out by a Kremlin spokeswoman.