Russia says ready to help offset U.S. sanctions on Iran

June 24, 2019

TEHRAN – Moscow says along with its partners it is prepared to take steps to counter new sanctions that the U.S. imposed on Iran on Monday. 

Sergei Ryabkov, the Russian deputy foreign minister, made the announcement after U.S. President Donald Trump on Sunday threatened Tehran with new sanctions.

The Russian diplomat did not specify what those steps would be, but said that the imposition of U.S. sanctions, which come as part of the Trump administration’s “maximum pressure campaign” against the Islamic Republic, would aggravate tensions.

Ryabkov also urged Washington to try negotiating with Tehran, instead of imposing new sanctions.

Trump has said the United States will impose “major” new sanctions on Iran in two days - a move sure to exacerbate tensions with the Islamic Republic.

“We are putting major additional Sanctions on Iran on Monday,” Trump tweeted. “I look forward to the day that Sanctions come off Iran, and they become a productive and prosperous nation again - The sooner the better!”

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said new sanctions imposed by the United States on Iran are illegal. 

Tensions between Iran and the U.S. saw a sharp rise on the first anniversary of Washington’s exit from a 2015 nuclear deal between Tehran and six world powers.   

The U.S. moved to ratchet up pressure on Iran by tightening oil sanctions and sending military reinforcements, including an aircraft carrier strike group, a squadron of B-52 bombers, and a battery of patriot missiles, to the Persian Gulf region.

This was followed by the downing of a U.S. drone over the territorial waters off Iran’s coastal province of Hormozgan on Thursday.

In the wake of the downing of RQ-4 Global Hawk, Trump claimed that he had called off a planned attack on Iran early Friday morning.

Top national security officials from Russia, Israel and the U.S. gather for a rare summit starting on Monday in Israel, with Iran top on the agenda.

According to media reports, both Washington and Tel Aviv would be trying to use the gathering as an opportunity to turn Russia against Iran.

Russian President Vladimir Putin, whose country is a close ally of Tehran, denied that the U.S. could secure concessions on key issues. 

“I don’t think anyone is trying to steamroll us on anything – they must understand that is a far-fetched possibility. But we do need the dialogue,” he told Russian channel NTV.

President Putin has earlier warned Washington against any military attack on Iran.

Speaking on Thursday, Putin said potential U.S. military action against Iran would be a “catastrophe for the region as a minimum.”

He also reminded that Tehran was in full compliance with the nuclear agreement, something that has been verified by the International Atomic Energy Agency in 15 reports. The Russian head of state also called the sanctions against Iran “unreasonable.”

SP/PA

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