January 23, 2012 / 3:48 PM / in 6 years

Russia alarmed by EU ban on Iranian oil, sanctions

MOSCOW, Jan 23 (Reuters) - Russia expressed “regret and alarm” on Monday over the European Union’s ban on Iranian oil and other economic sanctions, saying Tehran will not make concessions on its nuclear programme when faced with increasing Western pressure.

“It is obvious that what is happening here is open pressure and diktat, an attempt to ‘punish’ Iran for its intractable behaviour,” the Foreign Ministry said in a statement after EU nations agreed the measures.

“This is a deeply mistaken line, as we have told our European partners more than once. Under such pressure Iran will not agree to any concessions or any changes in its policy,” it said.

Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said earlier on Monday that Russia hopes international talks on Iran’s nuclear programme, which the United States and European allies fear is aimed at developing atomic weapons, can resume soon despite tension. (Writing by Steve Gutterman; editing by David Stamp)

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