US lifts sanctions against Russian groups linked to Iran | Europe| News and current affairs from around the continent | DW | 22.05.2010
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US lifts sanctions against Russian groups linked to Iran

Days after the Obama administration said it secured Russian support for new UN sanctions against Iran, the United States decided to end sanctions against three Russian entities previously tied to the Islamic Republic.

Obama and Medvedev shaking hands

Obama has made efforts to improve US-Russian relations

In what appears to be a continuing increase in cooperation between the United States and Russia, the Obama administration has removed sanctions against three Russian organizations previously accused of supporting Iran's nuclear program.

"Russia has adapted its approach to Iran and shown restraint in arms transfers," State Department spokesman Philip Crowley told news agency AFP. "This has given us confidence to lift these penalties while protecting our non-proliferation interests."

Crowley said a "good example" of Moscow's changing priorities was its decision to suspend a contract to deliver S300 air defence missiles to Iran.

Two of the organizations, the Moscow Aviation Institute and D. Mendeleyev University, were put under sanctions in 1999 during Bill Clinton's presidency. The third organization, Russian state arms exporter Rosoboronexport, had been under sanctions since 2008.

The US also lifted sanctions on a fourth company, the Tula Instrument Design Bureau, which had been restricted since 1999 for allegedly selling anti-tank equipment to Syria.

Obama, Medvedev and Czech president Klaus in Prague

The US hopes to have Russian support for UN sanctions against Iran

Shifting US-Russian ties

The lifting of the sanctions, which was published in the official state publication the Federal Register on Friday, suggests efforts by the Obama administration to increase cooperation with Russia.

Last month, US President Barack Obama and his Russian counterpart Dmitry Medvedev signed a historic agreement to reduce each country's nuclear arsenal by one third, a successor to the 1991 Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START).

The United States has also been seeking international support for new United Nations Security Council sanctions against Iran for its nuclear program, and Russia's status as a permanent member with veto power makes it a necessary ally.

acb/AFP/AP
Editor: Ben Knight

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