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27 Jul, 2010 11:16

Russia critical of EU sanctions against Iran

Russia's foreign ministry has condemned the latest EU measures against Tehran as unacceptable, claiming they fall outside the scope of the latest UN restrictions.

Moscow says such unilateral actions undermine collective efforts to find a solution to the Iranian nuclear issue.

The measures include a ban on the sale of equipment and technology.

Iran has long been suspected of trying to develop nuclear weapons, which it continues to deny.

The new measures come into force in the next few weeks – and coincide with Canada's decision also to impose restrictions.

But Elena Dunaeva from the Institute of Eastern Studies believes these additional sanctions have more to do with scoring points with the US.

“Adopting new sanctions against Tehran – in addition to the package approved by the UN Security Council – is more of a political gesture on behalf of the EU and Canada,” Dunaeva told RT. “And it's aimed at Washington. It's important to say that the latest UN sanctions are harsher and more comprehensive than the previous rounds. And if they're fully implemented, they're likely to have the desired effect. It's worth saying here that foreign companies, including European firms, frequently find ways and loopholes to bypass restrictions and channel investment and technologies to Iran. Therefore, our overwhelming goal is to make sure that all UN member states adhere to its decisions.”

Journalist Elena Suponina from Vremya Novostey newspaper believes that such sanctions can only worsen the situation.

“Russia has been warning against unilateral moves, as these can only further alienate Iran and make the return to international talks over its nuclear program even more problematic,” Suponina told RT. “There have been sanctions in place against Iran since 1979 – people there are used to this and don't feel affected.”

“The only thing the latest sanctions can bring is even deeper distrust between Iran and the global community,” she added.

According to Michael Thomas, the director general for the Middle East Association, new sanctions will seriously affect Iran’s trade partners, therefore it is vital to continue the talks.

”I think it will have some effect, but whether or not it will have an effect on Iran – I do not know,” he said. “Now UK trade with Iran is something like about two to three million pounds a year. It was, about five years ago, around 450 million in spite of all the problems we have had.”

”Those companies involved with Iran are going to be suffering. So, it is not only the Iranians, if they are going to suffer, but certainly British companies are going to suffer, which is why I am really keen to get these talks going,” Thomas added.