Sergey Lavrov

Russia’s Foreign Minister said Wednesday this is not the right time for approving new sanctions on Iran, and he hopes the Obama administration will resist the “excessive” decision of U.S. lawmakers.

RIA Novosti reports that Sergei Lavrov criticized the U.S. Senate’s decision this week to impose new sanctions, saying: “I hope this excessive stance by the U.S. lawmakers will ultimately be met by a responsible attitude on the part of the U.S. administration and the U.S. president.”

He added: “As Iran takes a step toward the global community, the international community should take steps to weaken sanctions against Iran.”

Lavrov has warned that unilateral sanctions imposed by the U.S. on Iran “will not facilitate the work of the six powers [the G5+1] and the unity of our actions.”

Just days before the scheduled talks between Iran and the G5+1 recommenced this week, the U.S. Senate unanimously approved a bill to extend sanctions to countries or companies that have dealings with the National Iranian Oil Company and the National Iranian Tanker Company, another attempt to restrict Iran from selling its crude oil abroad.

Lavrov has been quoted as saying that American unilateral sanctions are not actually aimed at stopping Iran’s nuclear program but rather are meant to create “economic stagnation” in Iran.