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Unilateral actions by the United States against countries cooperating with Iran are beyond the agreements of the Iran Six and will complicate its work
Unilateral actions by the United States against countries cooperating with Iran are beyond the agreements of the Iran Six and will complicate its work, Russia's foreign minister said Friday. On October 1, President George W. Bush signed Iran Freedom Support Act, which extended sanctions against countries maintaining energy cooperation with Iran and supplying weapons to the Islamic Republic. "I am forced to state that unilateral sanctions by the U.S. against [countries cooperating with] Iran, introduced several days ago, are far beyond the reached agreements [of the Six], both in terms of content and in the sense that we agreed to work together and not unilaterally," Sergei Lavrov said. Russia is a country that has invested heavily in Iran's energy. It is building a nuclear power plant at Bushehr, 250 miles southwest of Tehran, under a $1 billion contract signed in 1995. The plant is to be commissioned in November 2007. Russia is also supplying Iran with air defense systems. At the end of 2005, Russia signed a $700-million contract on supplies of 29 Tor M1 air defense systems to Iran. Despite strong criticism from the United States, Russia has maintained that the systems could be used only to protect Iranian air space. The U.S. has pressed for sanctions against Iran, which some countries suspect of pursuing a covert weapons program, though Tehran has consistently denied the allegation saying it needs nuclear energy for electricity. Russia and China, who hold vetoes on the UN Security Council, have said they oppose sanctions. Earlier, Lavrov said the new U.S. law only made it more difficult for the international community to agree a collective approach to Iran's problem. "It will seriously complicate our work," Lavrov said. "But we will apply all efforts to preserve the possibility of collective actions of the Six to prepare conditions for talks with Iran." Negotiations between the six mediators on Iran - France, Germany, the United States, Russia, China and Britain - have stalled over Iran's failure to meet the UN Security Council's August 31 deadline for suspending its nuclear activities.
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