Russia May Threaten Iran Negotiations, as Tensions Soar

July 21, 2014, 9:37 a.m.

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.

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