Russia has slammed unilateral measures against Iran by the European Union (EU) and the United States following the recent United Nations Security Council (UNSC) vote for a fourth round of sanctions against Tehran.
Russia's envoy to the European Union Vladimir Chizhov on Friday took exception to last week's decision by the EU and the United States to impose sanctions that targeted Iran's oil and gas industry.
“We do not support them. We think they are totally wrong in substance and in tactics,” Mr. Chizhov told reporters in Brussels. “If you want to dissuade Iran from pursuing a nuclear programme ... then why the hell are you banning the supply of equipment for the oil and gas industry?” he asked. He pointed out that latest sanctions imposed by the UNSC are “clever”, but the follow-on measures by the EU “are not”.
On June 17, EU approved sanctions which bar technology transfers to Iran's giant oil and gas industry, especially the fields of oil refining and liquefied natural gas. On its part, the U.S. Congress on Thursday passed a bill that bars access to the U.S. market to international companies providing refined oil products to Iran.
Mr. Chizhov warned that Moscow would reject unilateral sanctions which affected Russian companies having ties with Iran. “We will certainly not accept any infringement of the rights and of the activities of Russian companies on the basis of those unilateral decisions,” he said. He added that unilateral measures would also hit Russia's cooperation with the EU on the Iranian nuclear issue. “That will certainly depend on the degree to which the EU will be taking into consideration our sensitivities regarding the interests of Russian companies involved,” Mr. Chizhov observed.
Russia has so far maintained that it would continue on-going work with Iran on the Bushehr atomic power plant which is expected to be ready this summer. The Russian energy monolith, Gazprom has also established stakes in the Iranian oil and gas industry.
In the wake of the spat between the Russians and their western counterparts on energy sanctions, the Iranians have said that in the next two years, they would be in a position to nullify all international measures targeting their oil and gas industry.
“The more Americans and Europeans sanction us, the closer it takes us to self-sufficiency,” Fars news agency quoted Ali Reza Zeighami, the head of National Iranian Oil Refining and Distribution Company, as saying.
“Despite sanctions, in two years' time we will be self-sufficient in providing petrol, and two years after that we will be able to be a petrol exporter,” Mr. Zeighami asserted.
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