Russia may try to undermine the Iran nuclear talks as it faces off with Washington over last week's passenger-jet crash in Ukraine, the Daily Beast reports.
The United States could adopt new sanctions against Russian firms over Moscow's suspected link to the downed Malaysian Airlines flight, the publication said on Friday. Russia lacks means to respond to any new U.S. sanctions with reciprocal penalties, contributing to concerns that Moscow may retaliate by interfering with the ongoing negotiations on Iran's disputed nuclear activities.
House Foreign Affairs Committee Ranking Member Elliot Engel (D-N.Y.) called the Thursday crash "a serious act of terror."
"If there was Russian complicity in it, that makes it even worse," Engel said. Moscow faces charges that it supplied pro-Russian separatists in Ukraine with an anti-air missile believed to have brought down the airplane, killing all 298 people onboard.
The lawmaker noted that Russia is part of the six-nation bloc negotiating with Iran over its nuclear activities. Washington and its allies hope the talks will lead to long-term restrictions on Iranian nuclear activities capable of supporting bomb production.
"Considering that we are doing the P-5+1 and Russia’s part of that, there are all kinds of intertwining complications," Engel said.
Senator Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) also suggested Moscow may use its role in the Iran discussions to retaliate against new U.S. punitive actions.
"Russia [would] begin to see its overseas portfolios start to really become encumbered and therefore they might decide to be less helpful on Iran," Kirk said.