Moscow: Russia says it and its partners will take steps to counter new sanctions that US President Donald Trump has said it will impose on Iran Monday.
Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov made the announcement Monday, a day after Trump threatened Tehran with new sanctions as part of his administration’s “maximum pressure campaign” against the Islamic Republic.
Ryabkov did not specify what those steps would be, but said that the imposition of US sanctions would aggravate tensions. He also urged Washington to seek dialogue with Tehran, instead of imposing new sanctions.
Trump has said the United States will impose “major” new sanctions on Iran in two days – a move sure to exacerbate tensions with the Islamic Republic.
“We are putting major additional Sanctions on Iran on Monday,” Trump tweeted. “I look forward to the day that Sanctions come off Iran, and they become a productive and prosperous nation again – The sooner the better!”
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said new sanctions imposed by the United States on Iran are illegal.
Tensions between Iran and the US saw a sharp rise on the first anniversary of Washington’s exit from a 2015 nuclear deal between Tehran and six world powers, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).
The US moved to ratchet up pressure on Iran by tightening its oil sanctions and sending military reinforcements, including an aircraft carrier strike group, a squadron of B-52 bombers, and a battery of patriot missiles, to the Persian Gulf region.
This was followed by the downing of a US drone over the territorial waters off the coastal province of Hormozgan on Thursday.
In the wake of the downing of an RQ-4 Global Hawk, Trump claimed that he had called off a planned attack on Iran early Friday morning.
Top national security officials from Russia, Israel and the US gather for a rare summit starting on Monday in Israel, with Iran top on the agenda.
According to media reports, both Washington and Tel Aviv would be trying to use the gathering as an opportunity to turn Russia against Iran.
Russian President Vladimir Putin, whose country is a close ally of Tehran, denied that the US could secure concessions on key issues.
“I don’t think anyone is trying to steamroll us on anything – they must understand that is a far-fetched possibility. But we do need the dialogue,” he told Russian channel NTV.
President Putin has earlier warned Washington against any military attack on Iran.
Speaking on Thursday, Putin said potential US military action against Iran would be a “catastrophe for the region as a minimum.”
He also reminded that Tehran was in full compliance with the agreement, something that has been verified by the International Atomic Energy Agency in 15 reports. The Russian head of state also called the sanctions against Iran “unreasonable.”