Moscow is not ruling out new U.N. Security Council sanctions against Iran over its nuclear program, Russian news agencies cited an official in the Russian delegation in New York as saying Wednesday.

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Moscow is not ruling out new U.N. Security Council sanctions against Iran over its nuclear program, Russian news agencies cited an official in the Russian delegation in New York as saying Wednesday.

The reports are the first indication that Russia could support additional measures to punish Iran for its defiance of the international community, and come less than a week after President Barack Obama’s decision to scrap U.S. missile defense plans that deeply angered Russia.

But, the official, who was not identified, suggested Russia would use its clout as a veto-wielding permanent U.N. Security Council member to blunt any measures it considers too tough.

“We do not rule out participation in working out new U.N. Security Council decisions on questions of sanctions in relation to Iran, if there are objective grounds,” state-run RIA-Novosti quoted the official as saying.

The official emphasized, however, that Russia would not rush to judgment against Iran and would be skeptical of Western arguments for sanctions, according to RIA-Novosti, ITAR-Tass and Interfax.

For Russia, “the criteria are not individual evaluations, not guesswork, but the report and recommendations of the International Atomic Energy Agency,” the official was quoted as saying – a reference to the U.N. nuclear agency.

The official also said that Russia and other nations “differ in terms of the scale, volume and depth of sanctions,” though it was unclear whether that was reference to past measures or a potential new sanctions.

The official was part of the Russian delegation in New York, where President Dmitry Medvedev was attending the U.N. General Assembly. Russia and White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said the Iran nuclear problem was to be “No. 1 on our agenda” in Obama’s talks with Medvedev on Wednesday, and the foreign ministers of the five permanent Security Council members and Germany were meeting ahead of planned talks with Iran on Oct. 1 – the first since 2008.

The planned talks come despite persistent Iranian defiance of international demands that it halt uranium enrichment and reveal full information about its nuclear activities.

Obama last week announced his decision to shelve plans for missile defense installations in Poland and the Czech Republic – removing a major irritant in relations with Russia, which claimed the system was meant to weaken it.

Obama said his decision had little to do with Russia’s objections, and poker-faced Russian officials have left it unclear whether they would respond by edging closer to the U.S. on issues that divide them.

Any shift in the Russia’s stance on Iran would be widely seen as payback for the U.S. missile move. But Russian officials have signaled there was little room for change in their approach to Tehran.

Russia, which has close ties with Iran and is building the country’s first nuclear power reactor, has approved three sets of sanctions against Iran, but has joined China in watering down more aggressive proposals backed by the United States, which accuses Iran of attempting to make nuclear weapons.

The U.S. and Israel have urged Russia to get tougher on Iran, but Russian officials have repeatedly said that punishment is likely to be counterproductive.

On the same day that Obama pleased Russia by dropping the plan to deploy missile defense facilities in Eastern Europe, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov warned that “demanding the quick introduction of sanctions” on Iran could ruin the chances for productive talks with Tehran.

Prime Minister Vladimir Putin also warned against new sanctions earlier this month, saying Moscow has no evidence Iran’s nuclear program is anything other than purely peaceful.