"We don't see it working or leading anywhere," [Shalev] told The Jerusalem Post.Russia's refusal to discuss further sanctions against Iran apparently stems from its anger over US criticism of its invasion of Georgia.
She said she was especially surprised by the warm welcome Iranian President Ahmadinejad received from the General Assembly, whose members the next day were equally warm toward President Shimon Peres.
"It was very upsetting, the whole atmosphere - yesterday they were hugged and applauded," she said.
"We do not see any sort of 'fire' that requires us to toss everything aside and meet to discuss Iran's nuclear program in the middle of a packed week at the United Nations General Assembly," Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Andrei Nesterenko said in a statement.Another Israeli 'government official' holds out little hope for further sanctions against Iran without Russian support.
"On the contrary, there are more urgent questions - for example, the situation in Afghanistan and along the Afghan-Pakistan border - but our Western partners for some reason aren't rushing to discuss these," he said.
One senior American diplomat said on Wednesday that "there clearly is spillover of the difficulties created by the Georgia crisis, difficulties with Russian behavior that we have to work through."
Russia's move is a blow to the US, which wants to maintain cooperation amid their dispute over the Georgia conflict, and to France, whose Foreign Ministry on Tuesday announced plans for the meeting.
"We hope that it is not Russia's last word, and that they will change their mind. But we have no influence on them on this issue. We are not a factor whether they do or not participate; it all has to do with their relationship with the US."But sanctions imposed by individual countries would just drive Iranian purchases elsewhere. Given the business interests of countries like Germany, Italy, Austria and Switzerland in Iran, without a UN umbrella, sanctions are even more useless than they have been up to this point.
Another Israeli government official said that the Russian decision will force other countries to decide whether to impose harsher sanctions on their own against Iran.
Up to now, the official said, the sanctions proposed were "the lowest common denominator," because the idea was to get Russia and China to agree to them.
The official said it was also quite possible that the countries interested in a fourth round of sanctions would bring a resolution to a vote in the Security Council even over Russian objections, and that such a resolution would probably pass by a 9-7 margin.
The official said it was not a given that Russia or China would veto the resolution, because it does not directly touch on their interests.
The previous sanction resolutions had been adopted by consensus.
The official added, however, that it isn't clear that all the countries in Europe would be willing to back much harsher sanctions, though England and France could be counted on.
Cross-posted to Israel Matzav.