Russia has criticized the recent bill passed by the US House of Representatives against Iran’s oil exports, saying it will not help resolve the West’s standoff with Iran over Tehran’s nuclear energy program.
On Thursday, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov said the bill was counterproductive, adding that the United States should not unilaterally move to impose sanctions beyond those of the UN Security Council.
“Any additional sanctions are actually aimed at the economic strangulation of Iran, but not at solving the problem of non-proliferation,” Gatilov stated.
The bill by the US House, which overwhelmingly passed by 400 ayes against 20 nays late on Wednesday, seeks to cut Iran’s oil exports by one million barrels per day over a year.
It also blacklists any business in Iran’s mining and construction sectors and commits the United States to the goal of ending all Iranian oil sales worldwide by 2015.
The bill has yet to be approved by the Senate and signed by President Barack Obama to become law.
The US has imposed several rounds of illegal sanctions on Iran. The unilateral bans come on top of four rounds of UN Security Council sanctions pushed through by the US and Israel. Washington claims the sanctions are aimed at pressuring Tehran to abandon its nuclear energy program.
The United States, Israel, and some of their allies have repeatedly accused Iran of potentially pursuing non-civilian objectives in its nuclear energy program.
Iran rejects the allegations, arguing that as a committed signatory to the Non-Proliferation Treaty and a member of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), it has the right to use nuclear technology for peaceful purposes.
In addition, the IAEA has conducted numerous inspections of Iran’s nuclear facilities but has never found any evidence showing that the Iranian nuclear program has been diverted toward military objectives.