Medvedev criticizes US, EU sanctions against Iran

18th June 2010, Comments 0 comments

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev on Thursday criticized separate US and European sanctions against Iran, telling a newspaper that the big powers should "act collectively" and not unilaterally.

In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, Medvedev said it "would have been impossible" a couple of years ago for Russia to support tough UN Security Council sanctions over Iran's nuclear program, as it did last week.

He said the United States had nothing to lose by imposing additional sanctions because, unlike Russia and China, it has no ties with Tehran. He also expressed concern that the extra sanctions will hurt the Iranian people.

"We didn't agree to this when we discussed the joint resolution at the UN," Medvedev told the newspaper. "We should act collectively. If we do, we will have the desired result."

In Moscow, deputy foreign minister Sergei Ryabkov said Thursday that Russia is disappointed by the new US and EU unilateral measures against Iran, warning the moves could affect cooperation in the nuclear crisis.

The Russian comments struck a strong note of discord after what has in the past months been relatively harmonious efforts between Russia and Western powers to solve the nuclear crisis.

The new European Union sanctions, imposed Thursday, include a ban on new investment, technical assistance and technology transfers to Iran's huge gas and oil industry, particularly as regards refining and liquefied natural gas.

The new EU measures also target the Islamic Republic's transportation, banking and insurance sectors and slap new visa bans and asset freezes on the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC).

New US sanctions imposed Wednesday target insurance companies, oil firms and shipping lines linked to Iran's atomic or missile programs as well as the IRGC and Iran's Defense Minister Ahmad Vahidi.

© 2010 AFP

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