Russia disappointed by US, EU move on Iran: official

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

"We are extremely disappointed that neither the United States nor the European Union heed our calls to refrain from such moves," Russian news agencies quoted Ryabkov as saying.

"Such actions can be called none other than attempts to put yourself above the United Nations Security Council," he said.

Ryabkov added Russia would draw "certain conclusions, including on the prospects for joint work" between world powers aiming to defuse the nuclear standoff.

His 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.

Earlier this month Russia, which has strong economic interests in Iran, joined the other permanent members by agreeing a new UN Security Council resolution imposing sanctions against Tehran.

But 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 Revolutionary Guards Corps and Iran's defence minister Ahmad Vahidi.

During a summit Thursday in Brussels, European Union leaders are expected to approve their bloc's curbs on investment as well as transfers of technology, equipment and services in Iran's oil and gas industry.

Moscow said last week work had started to bring domestic legislation in line with requirements of the UN resolution, promising to strictly adhere to the sanctions and halt a controversial sale of its S-300 missiles to Iran.

"Unilateral sanction measures exceeding the parameters agreed and reflected in the UN Security Council resolution are not only harmful but undermine the very basis of our joint work with the partners," Ryabkov said.

© 2010 AFP

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