WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The State Department has lifted sanctions against Russia’s state arms trader and three other Russian entities it had accused of helping Iran try to develop nuclear weapons.
The United States has been trying to win Russia’s support for a U.N. Security Council resolution to expand sanctions against Iran over its nuclear program. Russia approved a draft resolution that Washington circulated at the United Nations on Thursday.
State Department spokesman Andy Laine said Russia’s view on Iran “has evolved over time” and noted the country’s support for the draft resolution.
“We felt confident ... that we could lift these sanctions,” he said.
Earlier this month, a senior Kremlin official said Russia expected the United States to lift bans on trade with four Russian companies if Moscow backed new sanctions against Iran. Russia has long criticized sanctions against entities accused of selling technology that could help Iran, Syria or North Korea develop weapons of mass destruction or missile systems.
The U.S. State Department said it lifted sanctions imposed in 1999 against the Dmitri Mendeleyev University of Chemical Technology and the Moscow Aviation Institute. Sanctions imposed in 2008 against Russian state arms trader Rosoboronexport also were terminated.
The department also removed sanctions set in 1999 against Tula Instrument Design Bureau. The United States has said it imposed sanctions against the firm for arms sales to Iran and Syria.
The department made public the decision in notices issued on Friday.
Iran rejects Western allegations its nuclear program is a quest to develop atomic weapons and has ignored U.N. resolutions ordering it to halt its enrichment program.