Russia has said that it opposes U.S., and possible European oil sanctions against Iran, even if Tehran presses ahead with uranium enrichment which Western powers say serves military goals, Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said on Wednesday
“Regardless of any conditions ... be those the conditions in which the Iranian nuclear program expands or others, we are against the application of such measures against Iran,” he was quoted by state-run Itar-Tass news agency as saying.
He said new sanctions would not strengthen nuclear non-proliferation.
Sanctions were imposed on Iran last month by the United States, while the European Union is expected to agree a ban on imports of Iranian oil later this month and EU ministers will be briefed by Turkey’s Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu.
At the talks on Jan. 23, Davutoglu will inform the European Union’s 27 ministers about the substance of his trip to Iran earlier this month, EU sources told AFP news agency on Wednesday.
The Turkish minister will also take part in discussions on events in Syria as well as his country’s view on the aftermath of the Arab Spring protests.
Denmark, which currently holds the rotating EU presidency, said earlier it was confident that tough European sanctions against Iran, targeting not only its oil sector but also its central bank, would be decided on later this month.
“We’ll go further both on oil sanctions and on sanctions against the financial structures,” said Danish Foreign Minister Villy Soevndal.
The EU decided in principle at the beginning of the month on introducing an oil embargo against Iran, but numerous details remain unresolved.
The EU is collectively the second-biggest destination for Iranian oil exports after China, taking in some 450,000 barrels per day.
But countries most dependent on Iranian oil, such as Greece, Italy and Spain, are lobbying for a delay in the start of sanctions until alternative oil sources can be found.