Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov speaks at a news conference in Moscow, Monday, July 16, 2012.
MOSCOW — Russia's Foreign Ministry on Monday, Aug. 13,harshly criticized new U.S. sanctions on Iran, calling them "undisguised blackmail" and warning that relations between Washington and Moscow would suffer if Russian companies were affected.
On Friday, President Barack Obama signed into law new sanctions on Iran's energy, shipping and financial industries as part of an effort to pressure Tehran over its suspected nuclear weapons program. The new sanctions would hit foreign companies that mine uranium with Iran or help it export oil by providing tankers, insurance or banking services.
Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said in a statement that while Russia supports U.N. sanctions, it opposes U.S. efforts to spread its legislation throughout the world and "rejects methods of undisguised blackmail used by the U.S. against the companies and banks of other countries."
The new sanctions build on previous penalties that U.S. officials say have reduced Iran's oil exports, costing Tehran more than $60 million daily.
Russia, however, argues that the unilateral sanctions undermine international diplomatic efforts and risk harming U.S.-Russia relations.
"Those in Washington should understand that our bilateral relations will seriously suffer if Russian companies working with Iranian partners in strict accordance with Russian law and U.N. Security Council resolutions are affected by the American restrictions," Zakharova said.