WASHINGTON – Punitive sanctions against Russia for its armed invasion of Ukraine will not affect unity between the two powers in nuclear negotiations with Iran, the State Department said on Friday.
State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki told reporters that the US is not concerned that the two issues will become conflated.
“We don’t agree with Russia on every issue,” Psaki said, “but Russia is not a part of negotiations as a favor to the United States. They have also publicly spoken about their concerns regarding Iran acquiring a nuclear weapon.”
“We fully expect – and evidence of the last week shows you this – that they will remain an active partner at the negotiating table,” Psaki said.
Russia played a key role in maintaining international consensus on Iran concerning suspicions of its nuclear work and the possible military dimensions to their vast enrichment program.
In the United Nations Security Council, the Russian and Chinese governments have been supportive of measures that have condemned Iran’s nuclear work and have sanctioned its continuation.
Signs point to a thaw in that policy, however, as Russia considered over the winter months a goods-for-oil swap that would have circumvented – or even directly violated – sanctions implemented by the US, UN and the European Union.
The US says that Russia has abandoned those plans, which would have increased Iran’s oil output by a significant 500,000 barrels per day.