Russia, Iran to Look for New Methods to Counter Sanctions’ Negative Effect

Russia and Iran will look for new methods of countering the negative effect of sanctions on bilateral economic relations, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said in an interview with Iran’s state television and radio broadcaster on Saturday, TASS reported.

Moscow and Tehran are taking measures not to allow bilateral trade and economic cooperation “to shrink,” Russia’s top diplomat pointed out.

“On the contrary, it is growing, in particular, thanks to the refusal to use the US dollar, the shift of the gravity center towards national currencies in settlements and new creative schemes of economic interaction. It works,” he stressed.

“I am convinced that we will be looking for new methods of ignoring the sanctions’ negative economic effect,” Russia’s top diplomat said.

There can be no reliance on the Western countries that are applying sanctions and there should be reliance on the states that firmly follow the principles of international law, Lavrov said.

It is necessary to build up the campaign in the UN and at other multilateral forums for denouncing unilateral sanctions, promoting the general understanding of the need to terminate them, Russia’s foreign minister said.

“For many years, we have been voting together with Iran and an overwhelming majority of UN members in support of the resolution on the illegitimacy of the economic blockade of Cuba. Only 2-3 members of the organization, together with the United States, do not support it,” Lavrov said.

The post of the special rapporteur on illegitimate unilateral economic sanctions has been set up at the UN, Lavrov recalled.

“It is necessary to support the activity of this important institution in every possible way. It has prepared several reports based on the UN Charter principles, first of all, equality, the peaceful settlement of disputes and non-interference in internal affairs. We will necessarily continue work in this direction,” the Russian foreign minister said.

Russia’s support for Iran’s economy

Moscow’s support for Tehran is not limited only to denouncing US anti-Iranian sanctions and amounts to billions of US dollars in the economic sphere, Lavrov said.

Russia flatly rejects any attempts of imposing illegitimate unilateral restrictions and also applying them extraterritorially, which it signaled “quite clearly” after the United States pulled out of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) under the Iranian nuclear program, Lavrov said.

“We do not just refuse to recognize unilateral sanctions, but support Iran with specific measures. Perhaps, we are doing more than anyone else. In terms of figures, this amounts to billions of dollars. The work is ongoing in all the directions: from agriculture to information technologies,” Russia’s top diplomat explained.

The Russian foreign minister cited the statistics of Russia’s trade with Iran. In particular, bilateral trade grew by over 20% in 2019 while in the first half of this year it expanded by 8%, considering the grave consequences of the coronavirus pandemic, he said.

“We do not have such indicators actually with anyone else when trade is growing and not decreasing amid coronavirus restrictions,” Lavrov pointed out.

Russia’s imports from the Islamic Republic grow considerably faster than its exports, the foreign minister said. Russia’s top diplomat also recalled a temporary free trade agreement between Iran and the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) that had entered into force in 2019 and facilitated the efforts to create conditions for Iranian output’s access to the large-scale market of all the association’s member states.