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Moscow warns new sanctions against Iran could damage Russia-U.S. ties

(Xinhua)

08:40, August 14, 2012

MOSCOW, Aug. 13 (Xinhua) -- Moscow has warned unilateral U.S. sanctions against Russian companies dealing with Iran could damage ties with Russia.

"Washington must understand that our bilateral relations will be seriously hurt if Russian business operators cooperating with Iranian partners fall under the U.S. restrictions," Russia's Foreign Ministry said in a statement on its website Monday.

Russia strictly obeyed UN restrictions on dealing with Iran, but it did not recognize numerous sanctions imposed by the U.S. unilaterally under the pretext of concern over the Iranian nuclear program, it said.

"We consider absolutely unacceptable the attempts to expand the U.S. domestic legislation over the entire world. We defy the open blackmail the U.S. employed against the companies and banks of other countries," the ministry said.

U.S. President Barack Obama last week approved sanctions against Iran for not complying with Western calls to halt its nuclear program, which Tehran says is for peaceful purposes.

The new set of sanctions added penalties for those companies aiding Iran's petroleum, petrochemical, insurance, shipping and financial sectors.

Russia noted that mounting pressures against Iran would only undermine finding a solution to the Iranian nuclear issue and destroy the unity within the Group of Six international mediators dealing with the problem.

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