As Iranians reel under the pressure of international sanctions, a Russian Deputy Foreign Minister said Washington’s unilateral sanction regime against Iran is a violation of international law.
Saying that Russia has found no evidence that Iran is intent on developing a weapon, Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov warned the United States and Israel on the “disastrous” consequences of attacking Iran.
"We warn those who are no strangers to military solutions…that this would be harmful, literally disastrous for regional stability," Ryabkov told reporters on Thursday.
A military attack on Iran "would set off deep shocks in the security and economic spheres that would reverberate far beyond the boundaries of the Middle East region," he said.
Saying there were no indications of a weapon component to Tehran’s nuclear program, Ryabkov pushed for continuing monitoring by the UN nuclear agency was a strong guarantee.
"As before, we see no signs that there is a military dimension to Iran's nuclear program. No signs," Ryabkov, the head of Russia’s delegation on Iran, as saying.
Meanwhile, as Iranians reel under the pressure of international sanctions, the Russian diplomat said Washington’s unilateral sanction regime against Iran is a violation of international law.
"We cannot agree to the exterritorial use of US law, and this is what is actually happening in this very case,” Ryabkov said. “We consider such methods a gross violation of fundamental principles of international law."
The basis of international relations should never involve such practices, he added.
The diplomat was referring to measures approved by the US Congress on August 1, which punish banks, insurance companies, and transporters that help Tehran sell its oil on international markets.
The International Energy Agency estimates that Iranian oil imported by major consumers had fallen to one million barrels a day since the start of the year, a decline of more than a third.
Millions of Iranians are feeling the sting of sanctions, which have made it exceedingly difficult for Iranian companies to import raw materials. This has led to a cyclical effect that involves the mass closure of factories and, of course, layoffs. At the same time, banks are more hesitant to give loans to fledgling industries, while potential investors are shying away from the stock market.
Meanwhile, in the midst of this downturn, food prices and rental fees are increasingly dramatically.
According to a member of the International Law Council in Moscow, governments that impose their own sanctions on other states are acting in violation of the UN Charter.
“The main problem here is that the sanctions should be imposed by the Security Council of the UN, which plays major role in preserving international peace and security,” Dr. Vladimir Kotlyar told RT. “In case there are no such decisions, it means the UN doesn't regard sanctions as an appropriate measure of preserving peace.”
If some state acts above those UN decisions…this state in fact ignores the UN Security Council position, Kotlyar added.
This grinding economic stagnation forced Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad this week to admit that international sanctions are hurting the country's economy.
"There are barriers in transferring money, there are barriers in selling oil," he conceded in a live television talk show.
Ryabkov called the implementation of sanctions an “obsession” among an increasing number of state players.
"Unfortunately, the trend toward implementing sanctions for attaining ends…has become an obsession that responsible politicians on both sides of the Atlantic cannot overcome,” he said.
Ryabkov attributed this approach to resolving international problems to the “immaturity of policymakers,” to whom the lessons of life “cannot teach anything."
Russia, a permanent UN Security Council member with veto power, says it opposes further sanctions beyond the procedures approved in four Security Council resolutions, the latest in 2010.
Evgeny Sukhoi contributed to this article.