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(Reuters) - President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said on Wednesday Russia's support for new U.N. sanctions against Iran was unacceptable and called on President Dmitry Medvedev to rethink his support for the U.S.-led move.
Iran was snubbed by Russia and China last week when, just hours after it offered to ship some of its enriched uranium abroad, Washington announced that all five members of the U.N. Security Council backed a new sanctions draft.
In an unusually strong criticism of the Russian government, Ahmadinejad used a televised outdoor speech to directly address Medvedev who, he said, had bowed to U.S. pressure to support the squeeze on Iran over its nuclear program.
"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.
"The Iranian nation doesn't know: are they (the Russians) our friends and neighbors? Are they with us or are they looking for something else?"
He said Russia should not support countries which had "shown animosity to us for 30 years," referring to the United States, which has led the global push for new sanctions.
"This is not acceptable for the Iranian nation. I hope they (Russia) will pay attention and take corrective action," he said.
"I am hopeful that Russian leaders and authorities will pay attention to these friendly words and take corrective action and not let the Iranian nation consider them among the ranks of its historic enemies."
Russia's position on Tehran's nuclear program is neither pro-American, nor pro-Iranian, presidential aide Sergei Prikhodko said on Wednesday.
The statement comes after Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said in a televised interview earlier in the day that Russia's support for UN sanctions against Tehran was "not acceptable to the Iranian nation."
"I hope [Russia] will pay attention and take corrective action," the Ynetnews service quoted him as saying.
Prikhodko rejected any suggestion that Moscow favored one side or the other, declaring that "Russia is unfailingly guided by its long-term government interests."
"Our position is specifically Russian, it reflects the interests of all Russia's people, and therefore can be neither pro-American nor pro-Iranian," he said.
He added that "any unpredictability, any political extremism" as well as "inconsistency in making decisions of worldwide concern" are unacceptable for Russia.
International pressure on Iran increased in early February when Tehran announced it had started to enrich uranium to 20% in lieu of an agreement on an exchange that would provide it with fuel for a research reactor.