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As US and EU slap on more Iran sanctions, Russia is miffed

The US and EU announce Iran sanctions that go beyond those approved by the UN Security Council last week. Moscow decries their 'political disregard for their partnership with Russia.'

By Staff writer / June 17, 2010

Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron addresses a news conference after an European Union heads of state summit in Brussels Thursday. Russia joined the US, France, Britain, China, and seven nonpermanent members of the Security Council in voting for a fourth round of Iran sanctions on June 8.

Francois Lenoir/Reuters

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Washington

The European Union followed the United States in approving its own tougher sanctions on Iran Thursday, targeting Iran’s oil and gas industry a day after the US Treasury slapped new restrictions on a number of Iranian banks, companies, and members of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps.

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But the EU and US measures, which go beyond the new sanctions approved by the United Nations Security Council last week, drew a blast of condemnation from Russia, which said the separate measures undermine the major powers’ joint effort to influence Tehran over its nuclear program.

In a statement calling the US and EU actions “unacceptable,” the Russian Foreign Ministry criticized the US and EU for putting themselves above the Security Council and weakening “the foundations for our dialogue and interaction.” Russia joined the US, France, Britain, China, and seven nonpermanent members of the Security Council in voting for a fourth round of sanctions on Iran June 8.

The statement, attributed to Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov, added that “the same story is repeated again and again: As soon as we reach a common understanding in the UN Security Council on a package of finely calibrated measures to influence Iran through sanctions, the US and EU don’t stop at that … and display political disregard for their partnership with Russia.”

US officials responded to the Russian criticism by insisting that the additional US and EU measures complement the Security Council action targeting entities and individuals linked to the nuclear program. The additional measures do not “go beyond” the Security Council in the sense of hurting the Iranian public, the line they say Russia drew when considering the sanctions resolution.

Moscow could not have been surprised by the quick move to tougher additional sanctions in Washington and Brussels. Both the Obama administration and European leaders had said for weeks before the Security Council vote that they would press for additional sanctions of their own once the UN resolution was passed. Both US and EU officials acknowledged that the resolution had been watered down to get China and Russia on board. Additional Western sanctions would be a way to make up for what was lost in Security Council negotiations, they said.

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