Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov warns that the new round of US sanctions on Iran is “alarming,” saying the bans signal that the situation amid Washington-Tehran tensions is headed towards a dangerous scenario.
Speaking at a news conference in Maldives on Tuesday, Lavrov expressed his concern over the ongoing events and the latest move by US President Donald Trump’s administration to impose “another round of sanctions, very personal sanctions” against senior Iranian officials.
He emphasized that these restrictions “are alarming and sending a signal that the situation is unfolding under a very bad scenario,” Russian media cited him as saying.
The top Russian diplomat said the current tensions over Iran were reminiscent of events in 2003 when the US tried to build a case for invading Iraq. Back then, Washington claimed that Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein was stockpiling weapons of mass destruction, which was proven false post-invasion.
“All of us know the result. In May , the US declared victory of democracy in Iraq. Draw your conclusion on how this democracy has demonstrated itself over the 16 past years,” Lavrov said.
On Monday, Trump signed an executive order imposing sanctions on Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei, his office and eight senior commanders of Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC).
Signing off on the measures, Trump said the new “hard-hitting” sanctions will deny access to “key financial resources and support” for the Leader, his office and those “closely affiliated” with him.
US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin has also said that Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif would also face sanctions “later this week.”
Meanwhile, the Russian Foreign Ministry also issued a statement on Tuesday to criticize the latest round of US sanctions against Iran.
Since leaving the 2015 Iran deal last year, the US has been escalating tensions by making baseless accusations against Tehran and building up pressure with new rounds of sanctions, it said.
“The US authorities should consider what the results of their reckless course towards Iran could be. It is fraught with not only destabilization of the Middle East, but could also undermine the entire system of international security,” the ministry said.
China calls for calm, avoidance of further escalation
Similarly, China on Tuesday said it “firmly opposes unilateral sanctions” and expressed hope that all relevant parties would remain “calm and restraint” to avoid further escalation of the ongoing situation.
Speaking at a press conference, spokesman for China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs Geng Shuang said Beijing is worried about the tensions gripping the Persian Gulf region.
“We think a capricious move with maximum pressures will not help resolve the problems at all. And the fact shows that these actions have had the opposite effect, and increased turbulence in the region,” he said.
He added that the Persian Gulf region lacks “dialogs and negotiations instead of tension and containment.”
“We hope the relevant parties can show political courage and political wisdom, and resolve conflicts and differences between each other through dialogs and consultations in a peaceful way on the basis of equality and mutual respect, so as to work with all parties to safeguard peace and stability in the region,” Geng said.