Sanc­tions dam­age US di­plo­macy

Amer­ica los­ing out Rus­sia, Iran

The Star Early Edition - - WORLD -

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.

PIC­TURE: AP

Rus­sian Pres­i­dent Vladimir Putin looks on at a mil­i­tary pa­rade dur­ing a Navy Day cel­e­bra­tion in St Peters­burg on Sun­day.

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