EU sanctions against Iran 'unacceptable': Russia
Russia on Tuesday blasted unilateral European Union sanctions imposed against Iran's energy sector as "unacceptable", saying the move showed a disregard for the UN Security Council.
"We have already said many times that we consider unacceptable the practice of unilateral or collective sanctions measures against Iran, that go beyond the Security Council sanctions regime in operation in the country," the foreign ministry said.
The statement came after EU foreign ministers on Monday formally adopted new sanctions on Iran's key energy sector in a bid to force it to return to talks on its controversial nuclear programme.
Iran is under four sets of UN sanctions over its refusal to heed repeated Security Council ultimatums to suspend uranium enrichment, the most controversial part of its nuclear programme.
Iran says that it is enriching uranium purely for peaceful use, but Western powers are concerned that it intends to develop a nuclear weapon.
Russia said Tuesday that the EU sanctions showed "disregard for the carefully regulated and coordinated provisions of the UN Security Council."
Both the EU and US sanctions "do not promote finding a speedy political and diplomatic resolution of the problem. For us this is obvious," the ministry said.
Russia "categorically rejects" any attempts to use sanctions against companies and individuals from third countries who are "conscientiously carrying out the demands of UN Security Council resolutions," it said.
Russia, traditionally a diplomatic and economic ally of Iran, in the past took a milder line against Tehran than Western powers but recently has noticeably hardened its position, sparking anger in Tehran.
President Dmitry Medvedev declared earlier this month that Iran was close to having the potential to build a nuclear weapon, the first time a Russian leader had warned so explicitly of the dangers of the Iranian nuclear programme.
In the face of rising tensions, the energy ministers of the two countries met earlier this month with energy-hungry Iran winning a pledge from Moscow to supply fuel, despite unilateral US and EU sanctions targeting its energy sector.
Moscow is helping Tehran build its first nuclear power station in Bushehr in a much-delayed project due to come online this summer.
© 2010 AFP