Russia dismisses US sanctions against Iran

Russia has dismissed the expansion of US “unilateral and illegitimate” sanctions against Iran, Press TV reports.

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov told reporters at the Iranian Embassy in Moscow on Monday that the sanctions have no legal ground and are baseless.

“US unilateral sections are illegitimate and have no legal basis,” Ryabkov said.

He said the illegal sanctions will impede further progress in the talks between Tehran and the Sextet of world powers on the Iranian nuclear energy program.

“We think that the US actions to expand its sanctions against Iran is a sure way to destroy a healthy and a positive basis for future progress on settling the Iranian nuclear issue,” the Russian official added.

Iran and the five permanent members of the UN Security Council – China, Russia, Britain, France and the United States -- plus Germany are scheduled to hold the next round of nuclear talks in the Austrian capital Vienna on Tuesday.

The negotiations are aimed at reaching a comprehensive accord on the Islamic Republic’s nuclear energy program after the two sides clinched a landmark interim deal in the Swiss city of Geneva last November.

Under the Geneva deal, which was implemented on January 20, the six countries undertook to provide Iran with some sanctions relief in exchange for Iran agreeing to limit certain aspects of its nuclear activities during a six-month period. It was also agreed that no nuclear-related sanctions will be imposed on Iran within the same timeframe.

On February 6, the US blacklisted nearly three dozen companies and individuals, accusing them of evading anti-Iran sanctions. The US Treasury Department said the targeted entities operated in Turkey, Spain, Germany, Georgia, Afghanistan, Iran, Liechtenstein and the United Arab Emirates.

David Cohen, the top Treasury sanctions official, also warned that companies and governments still risk heavy penalties if they expand trade with Iran.