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Russian PM Putin rattling nuclear sabers over Iran

Says Russia an answer to US power, opposes Iran nukes.

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Russian Prime Minister and presidential candidate Vladimir Putin looks at an X-ray mirror of a telescope during his visit to a nuclear center in Sarov. (KIRILL KUDRYAVTSEV/AFP/Getty Images)

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin rattled some nuclear sabers today, in one breath touting his nation’s prowess and at the same time discouraging Iran from pursuing nuclear weapons.

In Sarov, Russia, Putin told a security round-table that any country developing nuclear weapons would upset a delicate balance of global power.

“We’re not interested in Iran becoming a nuclear power,” he said, Bloomberg reported. “It would lead to greater risks to international stability.”

Putin is campaigning in the March 4 presidential elections. He also accused the US of attempting to overthrow the Iranian government, the Associated Press said.

“Under the guise of trying to prevent the spread of weapons of mass destruction … they are attempting something else entirely and setting different goals – regime change,” Putin said, according to the AP.

“We have such suspicions. And we are trying to take a stand that differs from the one they are trying to force on us ... concerning the ways that the Iranian nuclear problem might develop.”

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At the same time, Putin flaunted Russia’s growing arsenal, pointing to new intercontinental ballistic missiles and two nuclear submarines launched in the last three years, the Associated Press reported.

It’s in response to American plans to develop nuclear defense in Eastern Europe.

“We have something to prompt our colleagues and partners to be more constructive, but we haven’t seen this so far,” he said.

Putin, who enjoys painting himself as a rogue figure, also said the West shouldn’t underestimate Russia’s power.

The US “told its colleagues in the (NATO) bloc, ‘Let Russia potter around, we’re not very interested, they have nothing left but rust,’” Putin said, according to the AP. “This isn’t so. Today, it’s completely not so.”

More from GlobalPost: IAEA reports serious concerns about Iran nuclear program 

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/europe/russia/120224/russian-pm-putin-rattling-nuclear-sabers-over-iran