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‘Unilateral sanctions against Iran could damage Russian-US ties’ - Foreign Ministry

‘Unilateral sanctions against Iran could damage Russian-US ties’ - Foreign Ministry
The Foreign Ministry has warned of a possible blow to Russian-American relations if the US pursues unilateral sanctions against Iran that affect Russian economic interests there.

"Washington should understand that our bilateral relations will suffer considerably if the American restrictions affect Russian economic entities cooperating with partners in the Islamic Republic of Iran in strict compliance with our legislation and UN Security Council resolutions," the ministry said on its website on Monday.

Late Friday, US President Barack Obama signed into law new sanctions against Iran which aims to penalize those parties aiding Iran’s insurance, financial, petroleum, petrochemical and shipping sectors.

Moscow considers US sanctions against Iran unacceptable, Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Mariya Zakharova said on Monday.

"Russia is fully committed to the restrictions on cooperation with Iran that were established by the UN Security Council," the spokeswoman said. "However, we do not recognize the unilateral sanctions that were imposed by Washington on the plea of serious concern about Iran's nuclear program and run counter to international law."

Zakharova called US efforts to punish countries that do business with Tehran “blackmail.”

"We refute methods of undisguised blackmail,” she said, “which is used by the US towards banks and companies of other countries."

Earlier, the US passed legislation that targets any party doing business with Iran’s central bank.

Russia has cooperated with Iran in economic projects in the past, including in the Bushehr nuclear plant, which started adding energy to Iran's electricity grid in September, 2011.

The United States is one of several countries, including Israel, that is concerned that Iran may be trying to develop a nuclear weapon under the cover of a civilian energy program.

Tehran has strongly rejected the accusations, saying it is pursuing nuclear energy for civilian purposes only.