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.'
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But the Russian government may have been motivated by domestic concerns in much the same way the US Treasury Department was in part motivated by disappointment on Capitol Hill with what many lawmakers saw as a weak UN sanctions resolution. Having gone along with the US on sanctioning Iran, the government of Russian President Dmitry Medvedev does not want to appear to Russians as Washington’s dupe, some Russia analysts say.Skip to next paragraph
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That is all the more true given that Mr. Medvedev will meet with President Obama at the White House next week, after first visiting California’s Silicon Valley. The visit to a symbol of America’s technological prowess suggests Russia’s interest in cooperative ventures in cutting-edge industries, but also risks reminding Russians of American superiority in another field, some experts say.
In approving its new measures, the EU said “new restrictive measures have become inevitable” as a result of Tehran’s failure to respond to the many “opportunities” it has had to answer the international community’s concerns about its nuclear program.
The measures, approved at a summit of EU leaders, include steps to block investment in Iran’s oil and gas industry. Both houses of the US Congress have also approved measures targeting Iran’s primary industry, but passage of a final reconciled bill was put off by the administration’s desire to see the UN resolution approved first.
But US officials suggested Thursday that Russia should not see the new US and EU measures as going behind its back on the matter of Iran. “The Russians have consistently expressed concerns that any sanctions not impact the Iranian people,” said Mark Toner, the State Department's acting deputy spokesman. “Those are concerns that we share [but] we believe that the steps we’ve announced as well as the EU has announced earlier today are targeted against entities and individuals and not the Iranian people.”
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