russian_flag1.jpgRussia has said new EU sanctions on Iran undermine international efforts to resolve concerns over its nuclear programme, tempering hopes of closer cooperation between Moscow and the West on the issue.


EU foreign ministers on Monday approved a range of extra restrictions on Iran that went well beyond United Nations sanctions agreed last month, including a ban on dealing with Iranian banks and insurance companies as well as steps to prevent investment in Tehran’s lucrative oil and gas sector.


“This not only undermines our joint efforts to seek a political and diplomatic settlement around Iran’s nuclear programme, but also shows disdain for the carefully calibrated and coordinated provisions of the UN Security Council resolutions,” the foreign ministry said in a statement.


The use of sanctions outside of the UN Security Council framework is “unacceptable,” the statement said.


Russia on Monday condemned a verbal attack by the Iranian president on Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, widening a split between the two countries after Moscow gave into pressure from the West and backed the UN sanctions.


In addition to the EU sanctions, the statement criticised unilateral U.S. sanctions approved by Congress on June 24 aimed at squeezing Iran’s energy and banking sectors.


“We regret to say that all the recent steps by the European Union and the United States to build pressure on Iran display their disdain for the principles of collaboration,” the statement said.