Russia says ‘not afraid of US sanctions’ over arms trade with Iran

Russia has played down the US threat of sanctions over any arms trade with Iran following the expiry of a UN arms embargo that Washington failed to keep in place, saying such bans cannot stop the growth of Moscow-Tehran defense cooperation.

“We are not afraid of US sanctions, we are used to them,” Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov told TASS news agency on Monday.

He also predicted that Moscow-Tehran defense ties will develop regardless of any US restrictive measures.

The US arms embargo on Iran “will not affect our policy in any way. Our cooperation with Iran is multifaceted, defense cooperation will progress depending on the two countries’ needs and mutual willingness,” he said. “Another executive order will not change our approach.”

Earlier, the administration of US President Donald Trump announced an executive order and new unilateral sanctions against Iran after an abortive push to reinstate UN sanctions against the Islamic Republic.

It named 27 individuals and entities, including officials at the Iranian Defense Ministry, the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran and anyone found trading in conventional weapons with Tehran.

American officials said they had enforced an indefinite ban on weapons sales, which allows for sanctions on any international companies or individuals that seek to violate the embargo.

The news of American sanctions followed Washington’s failure to trigger the so-called snapback provision in the 2015 nuclear deal aimed at re-imposing UN sanctions against Iran.

The UN Security Council member states challenged Washington’s rationale that it was still a participant state to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), citing its withdrawal from the multilateral agreement in May 2018.

A month earlier, the Trump administration suffered yet another embarrassing loss as it failed to keep the UN arms embargo in force against Iran through a resolution at the UNSC.

The ban will be lifted on October 18 under UNSC Resolution 2231, which endorsed the JCPOA.

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