Iran General NewsIran criticizes Russian stance on sanctions, stalled arms deal

Iran criticizes Russian stance on sanctions, stalled arms deal

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Bloomberg: Iran’s ambassador to Moscow voiced frustration that Russia was giving tentative support for tougher United Nations sanctions and stalling the delivery of anti- aircraft weapons.

By Lucian Kim

May 25 (Bloomberg) — Iran’s ambassador to Moscow voiced frustration that Russia was giving tentative support for tougher United Nations sanctions and stalling the delivery of anti- aircraft weapons.

The Iranian government is “surprised” Russia is considering a U.S. proposal for a tighter embargo to punish the Islamic republic for its nuclear program, Ambassador Mahmoud Reza Sajjadi told reporters in Moscow today. Last week, Brazil and Turkey reached an agreement on a nuclear fuel swap in a last-ditch effort to stave off sanctions.

Russia showed initial support for additional sanctions after the U.S. and its allies argued that the deal brokered by Brazil and Turkey sidestepped the issue of Iran’s continued uranium enrichment. Russia has put off completion of Iran’s first nuclear power plant and delayed a shipment of S-300 anti- aircraft systems as tension has risen.

“It’s irrational for Russia not to fulfill its obligations,” Sajjadi said about the arms deliveries. Russia is losing “economic and political dividends,” as well as the trust of other arms clients, said the ambassador, who spoke in Farsi via an interpreter.

Sajjadi said Russian Energy Minister Sergei Shmatko assured him earlier today that the Bushehr nuclear plant, which Russia is building in southern Iran, will start up this summer. Prime Minister Vladimir Putin first made the pledge in March, during a visit to Moscow by U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Nuclear cooperation with Russia has a “bright future,” and Russian companies will have priority if more reactors are contracted at Bushehr, Sajjadi said.

“I don’t have this kind of optimism concerning military cooperation,” he said, as the issue of the delayed S-300 systems “negatively affected” Iranian public opinion. Iran will be “more cautious” when making arms deals with Russia, according to the ambassador.

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