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Russia’s foreign ministry slams US sanctions

Posted by smeddum on October 24, 2008

Russia’s foreign ministry slams US sanctions
MOSCOW (AFP) — Russia warned Friday that US sanctions on a Russian firm accused of defying a ban on sales of sensitive military technology to Iran will affect talks between world powers on Tehran’s nuclear programme.
Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov explained in a press conference that Washington’s unilateral approach was “inadmissible,” not based on international law and threatened to wreck Iranian cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency.
Russia’s foreign ministry described the sanctions against Rosoboronexport are an “unfriendly act which cannot but have negative consequences as regards our dialogue with Washington, in particular in discussions between the Six,” a statement said.
Thirteen foreign firms, including Russia’s biggest arms exporter, were listed Friday in the US State Department’s Federal Register as being “engaged in activities that warrant imposition of measures” under its Iran, North Korea and Syria Non-Proliferation Act.
The United States says the sanctions — also targeting firms from China, Syria and and Venezuela among other countries — are meant to punish the firms for sales that have “potential to make a material contribution to the development of weapons of mass destruction or cruise or ballistic missile systems.”
Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov meanwhile accused the US of seeking to apply domestic legislation in the international arena.
“These sanctions have been introduced without any international legal basis,” Lavrov told a press conference, adding they were an example of “overseas application of American laws.
“If someone in Washington thinks the United States will achieve reconciliation with Russia and will obtain acceptance of the US approach to solving the Iran problem, they are mistaken.
“This approach (the sanctions) is inadmissible. We are going to try and put an end to such a tactic, incompatible with the new realities of the modern world and which flows from a unipolar world view.
“All our economic and military cooperation with Iran is done in strict conformity to international legal norms.
“We are going to continue speak on behalf of the ongoing work of the IAEA in Iran and against severe measures enviseaged by some of our partners which threaten to halt Iranian cooperation with the IAEA and provoke a crisis,” he said.
On Wednesday, Lavrov warned Howard Berman, chairman of the foreign affairs committee in the US House of Representatives, that unilateral sanctions against Iran would be “counterproductive” in efforts to force Tehran to suspend its sensitive nuclear fuel work.
The United States and its European allies had pushed for new, tougher sanctions against Tehran but ran into resistance from Russia — among the five permanent members of the UN Security Council — and China.
The West and Israel have accused Iran of using its nuclear programme as a cover to build nuclear arms. But Tehran insists its programme is strictly peaceful and solely aimed at generating electricity.
The UN Security Council has slapped three rounds of sanctions on Iran for refusing to suspend uranium enrichment, a process which can be used to make the fissile material for a nuclear bomb.
But Tehran says it has a right to enrich uranium to make nuclear fuel as a signatory to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), and denies allegations of seeking atomic weapons.
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