(MOSCOW) — Moscow declared Monday that it won’t be happy with Washington if crippling sanctions against Iran also affect Russian businesses.
Sanctions were imposed several years ago to force Iran into abandoning its rogue nuclear program, although Tehran has persisted in enriching uranium, a crucial step to developing atomic weapons.
Two weeks ago, Congress built on an oil trade sanction imposed last year meant to penalize banks, insurance companies and shippers that assist Iran in its oil sales.
This is apparently hitting too close to home for Russia as the Foreign Ministry said in a sharply-worded statement, “We consider efforts to…impose internal American legislation on the entire world completely unacceptable. We reject methods of overt blackmail that the United States resorts to in relation to the companies and banks of other countries.”
Furthermore, Moscow warned that relations between it and Washington will “suffer seriously if Russian operators…come under the effects of the American restrictions.”
Since Iran is a close ally, this could potentially turn into another bitter disagreement between the two countries, which are already at odds over how to deal with the 18-month-long crisis in Syria and accusations by President Vladimir Putin of the U.S. interfering in its internal affairs.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Ralph Ellis, Ben Wedeman and Michael Pearson, CNN
Georgia McCafferty and Junko Ogura, CNN