Sergey Lavrov

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov says U.S. sanctions against Syria and Iran are damaging Russian economic interests.

AFP reports that after Lavrov met with his American counterpart, Hilary Clinton, on Saturday September 8, he said: “Unilateral U.S. sanctions against Syria and Iran are increasingly becoming extra-territorial in nature and are touching upon the interests of Russian business.”

He said specifically Russian banks have been affected by the sanctions.

The U.S. has imposed widespread sanctions against Iran aimed at forcing the Islamic Republic to halt its nuclear program. The sanctions have forced many countries to reduce or cut off their oil imports from Iran.

Asset freezes have also been imposed on members of the Syrian state, while U.S. companies are also banned from doing business with them.

Russia has vetoed initiatives by the United States to pass resolutions against the Beshar Assad regime through the United Nations Security Council.

Lavrov emphasized: “In Syria, we are not supporting any sanctions because sanctions will not bring about anything.”

“We stressed in a meeting with the U.S. Secretary of State that Russia will push for the Security Council’s approval of the Geneva communiqué,” the Russian Foreign Minister said, referring to the Syrian peace accord brokered in Geneva in June.

At that time, Kofi Annan, who was then the UN-Arab League envoy to Syria, said the peace agreement “makes it clear that we have provided guidelines and principles to assist the Syrian parties as they move ahead with the transition.”

Clinton, who was in the Russian port city of Vladivostok for a summit of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), said the U.S. government is trying to lift the 1974 Jackson-Vanek amendment, a cold-war era legislation, because the United States is interested in bolstering ties with Russia.