MOSCOW - Russia sharply criticized new US sanctions against Iran on Monday, saying the measures to punish banks, insurance companies and shippers that help Iran sell its oil would harm Moscow's ties with Washington if Russian firms are affected.
Russia, which has long opposed sanctions beyond those approved by the UN Security Council to pressure Tehran over its nuclear program, called the measures "overt blackmail" and a "crude contradiction of international law."
The United States ceased most trade with Iran many years ago and has put increasing pressure other countries to reduce their business with the Islamic Republic.
The measures approved by Congress on Aug. 1 build on oil trade sanctions signed into law by Obama in December that have prompted Japan, South Korea, India and others to slash purchases of Iranian oil.
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