Russia Concerned over Arms Sales, Sanctions

Posted October 17th, 2012 at 3:30 pm (UTC-5)
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Russia has lashed out against international moves that restrict transactions with Syria and Iran.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said Wednesday only sanctions imposed by the U.N. Security Council could serve as a basis for limiting its weapons supplies to any country.

“Nobody can use any pretext to dictate to Russia or any other country on how it should trade and with whom. Unilateral or collective restrictions and bans that are not framed by the U.N. Security Council, especially politically motivated, are not norms of international law with all the ensuing consequences.”

Though Syria was not mentioned by name, the announcement signals that Moscow will continue to ignore Western objections to Russia's arm sales to the Syrian government as it battles rebels trying to oust Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

It follows Turkey's decision last week to force a Syrian passenger plane flying from Moscow to Syria to land because Turkish officials claimed it carried military equipment.

On Iran, Russia's foreign ministry Wednesday said it was “very concerned” by new European Union sanctions against the Islamic Republic aimed at curbing its controversial nuclear program.

The EU measures that went into effect Tuesday ban financial transactions with Iranian banks unless the transfers deal with humanitarian goods and are approved in advance. They also include tighter restrictions on business with Iran's central bank, a ban on Iranian natural gas imports, and a ban on exports to Iran of graphite and metals that could be used for its weapons program.

An EU statement said the sanctions are in response to what the 27-nation bloc calls Iran's “flagrant violation” of international obligations and refusal to cooperate with the U.N. nuclear agency.

Tehran denies Western accusations that it is trying to develop nuclear weapons under cover of a civilian energy program.