WASHINGTON’S IRRELEVANCE: Russia continues to cooperate with Iran despite US sanctions threats

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MOSCOW – Russia will continue its cooperation in the field of nuclear energy with Iran, despite threats of US sanctions, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov said on Saturday.

On Friday, the US warned it could impose sanctions on anyone providing assistance to expand the Iranian nuclear plant in Bushehr.

Russia and Iran signed a treaty to build the second and third reactor of the plant.

“No threat of further sanctions will impede our legitimate mutually beneficial cooperation with Iran,” Ryabkov said.

The diplomat added that Russia, like Iran, had “great experience” in living under US sanctions.

“We will accept the threats with confidence and do not give in to this blackmail. We will gradually expand and develop our cooperation with Iran, including in the field of nuclear energy, in full compliance with international law and the national laws of our countries,” the Deputy Foreign Minister said.

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Iran signed an agreement with Russia to build the first Bushehr project, Bushehr 1, in 1992. By 2004, countries had signed a treaty to build the second and third reactor of the plant.

Iran will be able to use uranium supplied by Russia and under international supervision, just as it does with the reactor that already operates in Bushehr.

International monitoring will prevent Tehran from having access to spent fuel from which plutonium can be separated, the statement said.

The sanctions related to this nuclear power plant are part of a broader package of measures that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said aimed to cut off Iran’s nuclear weapons path.

From January to March, Chinese oil imports from Iran and Venezuela increased considerably. Experts believe that China is trying to help its partners in the context of US sanctions, but there is yet another reason.

In the first quarter of 2019, the volume of oil transported from Iran to China in oil tankers increased 78% – from 431,100 to 767,200 barrels per day. From Venezuela the volume grew even more, 193% – from 84,200 to 246,800 barrels per day, according to the TankerTrackers portal.

According to Russian analysts, China’s active buying of Venezuelan and Iranian oil is linked to Beijing’s desire to support its partners in the context of US pressure.

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