Sanctions damage US diplomacy
America losing out Russia, Iran
MOSCOW and Tehran said that the US would be the losers as a result of new sanctions it plans to impose against Russia and Iran.
And the European Commission was urged by Berlin to consider countermeasures since the sanctions against Russia proposed by US politicians could harm European firms in violation of international law.
Russian President Vladimir Putin expressed disappointment at the latest move by Washington.
“We waited for quite some time that maybe something will change for the better, had such hope that the situation will somehow change, but apparently if it changes, then not so soon.
“But we must, I decided, to show that we will not leave anything without an answer,” Putin said in a television interview.
In response to the proposed new sanctions, the Russian Foreign Ministry on Friday urged the US to bring the number of diplomats and technical staff of diplomatic missions in Russia in line with the number of Russian diplomatic representatives in the US before September 1.
This means the total number of personnel employed in US diplomatic and consular offices in Russia will be reduced to 455.
Last week, both chambers of the US Congress overwhelmingly approved a bill imposing new sanctions on Russia, Iran and North Korea, as well as limiting US President Donald Trump’s ability to lift the anti-Moscow restrictions. On Friday, the White House said Trump intended to sign the bill.
In Tehran, a senior adviser to Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, said on Sunday that Iran and Russia would boost co-operation following the sanctions imposed by the US, which will become the “main loser”.
Ties between Iran and Russia will become even deeper and stronger after the sanctions, Ali Akbar Velayati said during a meeting with the visiting director of the Institute of Oriental Studies at the Russian Academy of Sciences.
Tehran and Moscow have taken great steps during recent years to boost strategic relations, particularly in trade, Velayati said. The two countries are working to improve co-operation in the political, economic, security and defence sectors, he said.
The US has decided to impose new ballistic missile sanctions on Iran in response to what it called Tehran’s “continued provocative actions”. The new round of sanctions on Russia intends to punish Moscow for alleged “meddling” in last year’s US presidential election.
In Berlin, the German economy minister described the proposed sanctions against Russia as “being against international law, plain and simple”.
Brigitte Zypries said: “Of course we don’t want a trade war. But it is important the European Commission now looks into countermeasures.”
The German government and business leaders have said the measures passed by the US House of Representatives could prevent German companies from working on pipeline projects essential to Germany’s energy security.
Putin described the sanctions as an “unprovoked… step towards deterioration of Russian-American relations” and as “illegal restrictions (and) an attempt to influence other countries of the world, including its allies who are interested in developing and maintaining relations with Russia”.
“The personnel of the US diplomatic missions in Russia will be cut by 755 and will now equal the number of the Russian diplomatic personnel in the US, 455 people on each side,” Putin said in an interview with Vesti.ru channel.
He added that from a diplomatic point of view, it was a considerable cut. “Because over a thousand employees, diplomats and technical personnel have been working and are still working in Russia, and 755 of them will have to cease their work in the Russian Federation, it’s considerable,” Putin said.
Russian President Vladimir Putin looks on at a military parade during a Navy Day celebration in St Petersburg on Sunday.