US sanctions against Iran affect Russia as well, says expert

TASS – Senior Researcher at the Russian Academy of Sciences’ Institute of Oriental Studies Boris Dolgov added that a lot depends on the Russian stance

US sanctions in relation to the Iranian nuclear facility in Fordow aim to destabilize the situation in Iran and put pressure Moscow, Senior Researcher at the Russian Academy of Sciences’ Institute of Oriental Studies Boris Dolgov told TASS on Tuesday.

Moscow and Tehran are implementing a bilateral project on reconfiguring the centrifuges at the nuclear plant in Fordow in order to create stable isotopes and use them in the industrial and medical spheres. “Washington’s sanctions against Iran affect Russia as well, of course. In a sense, these sanctions are against Russia,” the expert said.

“Whether Iran and Russia can bypass these sanctions is a question of economic policy, economic measures that are possible and that have been implemented before,” Dolgov continued.

He added that a lot depends on the Russian stance. “There are many measures and possibilities to bypass these sanctions, both Russian and Iranian companies working at this facility use this,” the expert said. “A lot depends on Russia’s position and resilience against US pressure, because these sanctions are an attempt to put pressure on Russia.” “Whether Russia can resist this pressure is a matter that should be discussed by the country’s leadership,” he noted.

According to the expert, new US sanctions in relation to Fordow aim to put pressure on Iran and its economy. He reminded that protests are currently underway in Iran due to increased oil prices. “This [introduction of sanctions] is a continuation of the US using this situation in Iran and attempting to exacerbate it by putting military-political and economic pressure on Iran. Of course, this will lead to an escalation of economic tensions in Iran,” the expert said. “However, this is the goal of the United States – to change the regime in Iran. This is completely obvious.”

Dolgov added that Tehran would introduce measures to alleviate the consequences of the sanctions.

US sanctions against Iran

On Monday, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo stated that the US would reinstate unilateral sanctions against the Iranian nuclear facility in Fordow starting December 15 due to Iranian President Hassan Rouhani’s recent decision to begin uranium enrichment at the plant.

On November 5, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani announced that Tehran would take the next step to reduce its commitments under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) by activating centrifuges at the Fordow uranium enrichment plant. In accordance with the 2015 JCPOA, Iran had to modernize the Fordow plant under international observers’ supervision. The planned modernization was supposed to make this facility impossible to be used for military purposes. On the following day, the ISNA agency reported that Iran began to pump gas to the centrifuges at Fordow, which signified the fourth stage of Tehran’s reduction of obligations under the JCPOA.

Later, members of the Iranian government said the country could increase the facility’s uranium enrichment capacity to 20%. They also said that it was no longer planned to turn the facility into an international research center.

The 2015 Iranian nuclear deal envisages conversion of Fordow from a uranium enrichment facility into a research center. Later, as part of the deal, Russia and Iran started to cooperate in the project to turn Fordow into a center producing stable isotopes for scientific purposes.