Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad accused Russia
`s president on Friday of turning against Tehran and joining the U.S. in spreading lies about its nuclear program, in the latest sign that Iran is drifting apart from a one-time key backer
The Iranian president has had harsh words for Moscow since it became apparent that Russia would support last month`s new United Nations sanctions against Tehran for its refusal to stop parts of its nuclear program. In the past, Iran had depended on allies Russia and China and their veto power at the Security Council to block tough penalties.
Russia is a great nation and we are interested in continuing friendship between the two nations but his (Medvedev`s) remarks are part of a propaganda drama that is to be carried out by the U.S. president against the Iranian nation,` Ahmadinejad said in a speech posted on his website Friday.
`In fact, Mr. Medvedev has kick-started this drama,` he said.
Russia is in a difficult position in the international standoff with Iran, in part because it does not want to jeopardize decades of political and trade ties with the country. Still, Moscow has lately shown increasing frustration with Iran, and last month backed the new sanctions.
Medvedev said last week that although Iran is `an active and trusted trading partner ... this does not mean we don`t care how it develops its nuclear program and what its military components look like. In this respect we expect explanations from Iran.`
He also urged Iran to find the courage to cooperate with the international community over its disputed nuclear program.
On Friday, Ahmadinejad answered back, saying Medvedev was joining the U.S. against Iran and harming Russia`s interests.
Ahmadinejad first delivered unusual criticism of Medvedev in May, accusing him of caving in to U.S. pressure for new sanctions, saying `justifying the behavior of Mr. Medvedev today has become very difficult.`
Last month, the Russian government said the new U.N. sanctions forbid delivering the weapons.