Russia has expressed its opposition once more to EU sanctions on Iranian oil exports, just weeks before the embargo takes effect on July 1.
Ria Novosti reports that Sergey Riabkov, Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister, said: “Russia opposes EU oil sanctions against Iran and will welcome a delay in their [implementation] date.”
The 27 EU member states agreed in January to stop buying Iranian oil exports as of July 1, 2012 as a way to resolve nuclear disputes with Iran.
The West says Iran’s nuclear program may have a military component, but Iran adamantly denies it and says its ambitions are completely peaceful.
Riabkov maintained that sanctions only cause further delays in finding a diplomatic resolution to the nuclear disputes.
Riabkov added: “Russia opposes imposing unilateral sanctions as a means of reaching political aims.”
Russia had said earlier that the unilateral sanctions imposed on Iran by the U.S. and EU are aimed at “inflating public discontent and toppling the regime.”
The sanctions were also denounced by OPEC chief Abdolla Albadri at the group’s meeting last Thursday in Vienna. Albadri urged the parties to stick with discussion and peaceful resolutions.
However, Michael Mann, the spokesman for the EU’s foreign affairs chief, announced that the EU is not going to cancel the sanctions on Iranian oil. He added that the sanctions will only be removed based on actions, not words.