Russia Laughs At U.S. Sanctions Threat

Sergei Lavrov
Sergei Lavrov / AP
August 20, 2015

Senior Russian officials have "angrily dismissed" reports that the upcoming sale of a highly advanced missile defense system to Iran could result in U.S. sanctions, according to Russian language reports flagged by the CIA's Open Source Center (OSC).

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, when asked about the implications of the sale, was said to have scoffed at the threat of U.S. sanctions and said they cause no worry for Moscow.

Iran has long sought to purchase from Russia an advanced surface-to-air missile system known as the S-300. Earlier this year, Russia and Iran finally inked an agreement to finalize the deal.

The issue has sparked concern among some U.S. lawmakers, who petitioned the Obama administration in January to publicly oppose the deal and work to thwart it.

While the sale of this system could violate current U.S. sanctions preventing such military deals with Iran, Russian leaders said they are not worried.

As part of a recently inked nuclear agreement between Iran and global powers, United Nations sanctions barring the sale of conventional weapons to Iran will be lifted in the next several years.

Russia's Lavrov was quoted as telling a Russian television station on Wednesday that American sanctions cannot harm the country.

"American sanctions do not concern us," Lavrov said, according to OSC's translation of his remarks. "We are only honoring our international obligations."

"As far as sanctions are concerned, this, above all, is the decision of the UN Security Council," he continued. "All other unilateral restrictions imposed in circumvention of the Security Council and in violation of the universally accepted norms of international law do not interest us. That is why we should let our American colleagues study this."

"Perhaps it will not be useless for them to draw the conclusion that not everything is subordinated to their understanding of international law," Lavrov concluded."

Lavrov issued these remarks during a visit this week to Sevastopol, a Russian-occupied area of Crimea. They were later broadcast on a Russian state-controlled television station, according to OSC.

Published under: Russia , Sanctions