Putin praises U.S. on Iran but says sanctions harmful

MOSCOW Thu Dec 19, 2013 7:54am EST

Russian President Vladimir Putin takes part in a televised news conference in Moscow December 19, 2013. REUTERS/Aleksey Nikolskyi/RIA Novosti/Kremlin

Russian President Vladimir Putin takes part in a televised news conference in Moscow December 19, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Aleksey Nikolskyi/RIA Novosti/Kremlin

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MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday praised the U.S. role in forging an interim deal to ease concerns about Iran's nuclear program but said he hoped a U.S. decision to broaden a blacklist of companies under existing sanctions would not undermine progress toward a comprehensive agreement.

In an annual news conference, Putin said the deal reached last month between Iran and global powers seeking to ensure it does not seek atomic weapons would have been impossible without the "pragmatic position" of President Barack Obama's administration.

Iranian negotiators interrupted the talks last week on implementation of the interim agreement in protest against the U.S. blacklisting of an additional 19 Iranian companies and individuals under existing sanctions, saying the move was against the spirit of the deal.

"As for sanctions, I am certain that this is a counterproductive decision," Putin said. "I hope ... movements in this direction will not be a barrier to all of us moving forward toward a solution to the Iranian nuclear problem."

Russia approved four rounds of U.N. Security Council sanctions aimed at curbing its nuclear activities but has sharply criticized additional punitive measures imposed by the United States and Europe.

Putin, whose country built Iran's first nuclear power plant, said Iran had the right to a peaceful nuclear program and "the international community has no right to demand any discriminatory restrictions on it."

(Reporting by Alexei Anishchuk; Writing by Steve Gutterman, Editing by Timothy Heritage)

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Comments (2)
usa.wi.vet.4q wrote:
I guess we should drop the sanctions in good faith for the Iranians then??? Look for a better potato vodka Vlad!

Dec 20, 2013 11:15am EST  --  Report as abuse
MidWestSense wrote:
Putin has been the best thing to happen to the US in a long time. Beyond making innocent Iranians suffer the sanctions have not achieved anything. The reason the agreement with Iran came about was the realization by US that the sanctions were not going to stop Iran as it has continued to develop and install new and better centrifuges despite the sanctions.

Dec 20, 2013 1:39pm EST  --  Report as abuse
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