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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Russia questions new U.S. sanctions against Iranian companies

RIA Novosti

20:13 24/06/2011 MOSCOW, June 24 (RIA Novosti) - Unilateral U.S. sanctions against a major Iranian port operator and the country's national airline raise serious questions, the Russian Foreign Ministry said on Friday.

The ministry said in a statement that the sanctions had a negative effect on the authority of the UN Security Council.

The Foreign Ministry also said that the U.S. move had strengthened the suspicion that the U.S. sanction policy was pursuing other goals apart from maintaining the non-proliferation regime.

"This position is absolutely inadmissible for us. It needs a total review," the statement said.

It also said the sanctions had the potential to "threaten Russian businesses working with these companies" and "undermine the basics of our cooperation"

On Thursday, the U.S. Department of Treasury extended the blacklist of Iranian companies banned from any deals with U.S. companies and individuals. The list comprises Iranian state-run air carrier Iran Air and Iranian port operator, Tidewater Middle East.

A source in the U.S. Department of State said that the capabilities of these companies were used for the creation of weapons of mass destruction.

Iran is under four sets of U.N. Security Council sanctions, primarily for defying council demands to stop uranium enrichment, but also because of a record of nuclear secrecy.

The U.S. and other Western countries accuse Iran of developing nuclear weapons under the cover of peaceful nuclear energy program. Tehran denies all the charges, saying that its nuclear program is focused on the country's electricity needs.

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