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Europe

Russia: EU sanctions on Iran 'unacceptable'

Moscow has said the new EU sanctions on Iran will undermine efforts for a political-diplomatic resolution with Iran. Russia backed last month's UN sanctions but condemned unilateral measures by the US and the EU.

Russian and Iranian flags

Russia is traditionally been closer to Iran than the West

Russia on Tuesday criticized the decision by the EU to impose a fresh round of sanctions on Iran. Using sanctions outside the UN Securtiy Council framework was "unacceptable," a Foreign Ministry statement released in Moscow said.

"This not only undermines our joint efforts to seek a political and diplomatic settlement around Iran's nuclear program, but also shows disdain for the carefully calibrated and coordinated provisions of the UN Security Council resolutions," the statement continued.

Russia has for long been at odds with Europe and the US as to whether sanctions are the right path to deal with Iran. Moscow supports the sanctions adopted by the UN last month but is critical of unilateral measures by the US or the EU.

Moscow aims for diplomatic solution

At the heart of the controversy is the international community's concerned over Tehran's nuclear program. While Iran claims it needs the technology merely for civilian purposes, the West is worried that the Islamic republic is in fact trying to develop nuclear weapons.

The EU on Monday agreed on a set of sanctions targeting Iran's foreign trade, banking and energy sectors. These mirror sanctions imposed by the US last month and go much further than UN proposals.

"We regret to say that all the recent steps by the European Union and the United States to build pressure on Iran display their disdain for the principles of collaboration," the Russian statement said.

But the sanctions already have yielded some degree of success. In a letter to the International Atomic Energy Agency on Monday, Tehran has signalled it is prepared to resume negotiations.

Author: Andreas Illmer (AP/Reuters)
Editor: Rob Turner

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