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Russia Denounces US and EU Sanctions on Iran

Russia on Thursday sharply criticized new U.S. and EU sanctions against Iran, saying they could derail cooperation between Moscow and the West regarding Iran's nuclear program.

The Russian Foreign Ministry said the sanctions - in addition to ones recently imposed by the U.N. - demonstrate the West's dismissal of Russia's opinion, and that the unilateral sanctions are eroding international efforts to halt Iran's nuclear developments.

U.S. Steps Up Sanctions Against Iran

The ministry said the new sanctions amounted to the U.S. and the EU "putting themselves above the United Nations Security Council."

"We categorically reject that," the ministry said in a statement.

Russia supported a fourth round of U.N. sanctions imposed last week to curtail Iran's nuclear program over fears it is developing weapons.

The U.S. administration announced additional penalties against Iran on Wednesday, hitting more than three dozen additional companies and individuals.

The EU adopted a new set of sanctions Thursday.

Russia said the West has gone too far with additional penalties.

"The same story is repeated again and again: once we take significant effort and reach an understanding at the U.N. Security Council on a set of carefully tuned sanctions on Iran, the U.S. and the EU don't stop at that and show their disregard to partnership with Russia," the ministry said. "We are disappointed by such decisions. They undermine the foundation of our cooperation and dialogue on ways of settlement of the situation around the Iranian nuclear program."

Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov told reporters Friday that Moscow would draw conclusions for the future from the Western action, but he wouldn't elaborate.

U.S. State Department spokesman Mark Toner brushed aside Moscow's criticism, saying that the U.S., the EU and Russia all have the same goal and don't want to hurt the Iranian people.

"The Russians have consistently expressed concerns that any sanctions not affect the Iranian people and obviously those are concerns that we share," Toner told reporters in Washington. "We agree and we believe that the steps that we have announced, as well as (what) the EU has announced earlier today, are targeted against entities and individuals that support Iran's nuclear and proliferation activity and not the Iranian people."

Russia has said the U.N. sanctions wouldn't bar it from completing Iran's first nuclear power plant, which is set to come on line in August.

At the same time, the Kremlin said that the new U.N. sanctions would prevent Russia from delivering the powerful S-300 air defense missiles to Iran as agreed under a 2007 contract.

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