Press TV – Russia has once again hit out at the US for re-imposing its unilateral sanctions against Iran after scrapping the 2015 multilateral nuclear deal, describing it as a “destructive step” that could destabilize the already-volatile Middle East region.
Addressing a news briefing on Thursday, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman, Maria Zakhariva, said “Washington’s course at bringing down the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) on the Iranian nuclear program and restoring full-scale pressure through sanctions is absolutely destructive,” referring to the Iran deal by its official name.
After abandoning the JCPOA in May, the administration of US President Donald Trump on Tuesday reinstated a series of unilateral sanctions targeting Iran’s purchase of US dollars, trade in gold and other precious metals as well as its automotive sector. A second batch of US sanctions will be re-imposed on Iran in November with the aim of undermining its oil exports and shipping sectors.
The US president has also threatened punitive measures against the firms that refuse to stop their business links with Iran when the American sanctions return.
Washington’s move drew criticisms from Russia, China and the European parties to the Iran deal — France, Britain and Germany.
The EU was quick to issue a statement in defense of the landmark accord, vowing to fight the American sanctions and protect the firms working with Iran.
The 28-nation bloc has activated a “blocking statute” aimed to mitigate the impact of American restrictive measures on European firms legally active in the Iranian market. It has also warned that the firms that choose to abide by Washington’s bans may be slapped with European sanctions.
Zakharova further said the Trump administration’s measures would entail “long-term deplorable consequences for global nonproliferation [of the weapons of mass destruction] and will impart a destabilizing impulse to the situation in the Middle East.”
On Tuesday — when the US reintroduced its bans on Iran — the Russian Foreign Ministry released a statement and criticized the US for violating UN Security Council Resolution 2231 that endorsed the Iran deal.
“We denounce any unilateral sanctions in circumvention of the UN Security Council decisions, all the more so if they have exterritorial applications and affect the interests of third countries, as is the case with the current US restrictions against Iran,” the statement said.
Russia has vowed to reinforce its relations with Iran in all sectors now that the US has left the accord and chosen to build up economic pressure on the Islamic Republic.
Vladimir Yermakov, Director General of the Department for Nonproliferation and Arms Control at Russia’s Foreign Ministry, had said in early May that with the US exit “it might even be easier for us on the economic front, because we won’t have any limits on economic cooperation with Iran.”
Switzerland criticizes US bans on Iran
Meanwhile, Switzerland on Thursday expressed regret over the “deteriorating situation” in the aftermath of Washington’s renewal of economic pressure against Tehran.
It also recommended Swiss firms to continue their business ties with the Islamic Republic despite the return of US bans.
“US decisions on sanctions do not affect the legal situation in Switzerland with regard to Iran,” said Fabian Maienfisch of the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO).
He added that the federal government would defend Swiss economic interests and recommends “that companies pursue their commercial relations with Iran and inform themselves about the situation.”