Russia raps EU sanctions against Iran

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Moscow, July 27 (IANS/RIA Novosti) Russia Tuesday slammed the latest unilateral US and EU sanctions on Iran, saying that the move not only disregarded the UN Security Council but also undermined joint efforts on the regulation of Tehran’s nuclear programme.

“We have repeatedly said that we consider unacceptable the practice of imposing unilateral or collective sanctions on Iran, which go beyond the boundaries of the UN Security Council’s sanctions,” Andrei Nesterenko, a Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman, said.

“It not only undermines our joint efforts on the political-diplomatic regulation of Iran’s nuclear programme, but also demonstrates a disregard for the precise and coordinated points of the UN Security Council resolution,” he said.

Russia blocks any efforts to implement sanctions against companies and individuals that abide by the UN Security Council resolution, he said.

Western powers suspect Iran of attempting to build nuclear weapons under the guise of civilian nuclear power generation.

The UN Security Council June 9 passed a fourth round of sanctions against Iran over its nuclear programme, including tougher financial controls and an expanded arms embargo, as well as an asset ban on three dozen companies and a travel freeze on individuals.

EU foreign ministers Monday adopted extra sanctions against Iran, including new restrictions on the energy sector, foreign trade and financial services.

The sanctions, most of which came into force Tuesday, will also ban exports to Iran of goods that may be used to make weapons.

The EU sanctions mirror unilateral sanctions imposed on Iran by the US, which target Iranian banks operating abroad if there is any suspicion that they are pursuing the development of Tehran’s nuclear programme. The US sanctions also target Iran’s insurance and oil companies and expand a UN embargo on arms deliveries to Iran.

The US and EU sanctions go further than the UN sanctions, which were softened to secure support of veto-wielding members Russia and China.

Iran was quick to respond to the new EU sanctions, saying they will not damage Tehran but will complicate the situation surrounding the country’s nuclear programme.

Russia has long opposed sanctions against Iran, saying that the issue should be resolved through diplomatic means. However, Moscow finally approved the UN sanctions after Iran failed to prove the peaceful nature of its nuclear activities.

–IANS/RIA Novosti

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