MOSCOW, April 22. /TASS/. Soonest lifting of anti-Iranian sanctions is in Russia’s national interests, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said in an interview with the Argumenty I Fakty weekly.
"The region of the Middle East and North Africa is now living through a period of serious turbulence stemming from the intensification of extremism and terrorism, growing interethnic and interreligious contradictions," he said. "Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Libya are engulfed in upheavals, the situation in many other countries is unstable too."
Further degradation of the situation in the region, according to the Russian minister, might have "serious adverse effect on international stability, infringe upon the interests of many countries, including Russia, with its southern regions located in the exact proximity" to that region.
"Russia has been taking consistent steps to reach political settlement to conflict situations and find solutions to numerous problems of the region. It has been contributing to success of corresponding international efforts," Lavrov noted. "Thus, Russia’s diplomacy has made a great contribution to the framework agreement on settling problems related to the Iranian nuclear programme that was finally reached in Lausanne."
"We believe that further progress on this track, the soonest lifting of anti-Iranian sanctions - both those imposed by the United Nations Security Council and all unilateral restrictions - meet our national interests," he said, adding that Iran was Russia’s long-time partner and relations between the two countries rested on traditions of friendship and good-neighborliness. "We are confident that de-escalation of tension around Iran will do good to the bilateral trade-and-economic ties and, correspondingly, will be beneficial for Russia," he underscored.
Moscow, Lavrov noted, is confident that Iran should have its say in regional affairs. "We are confident that Teheran’s full-fledged participation in regional affairs will serve the tasks of ensuring security in the Gulf and neighbouring regions," he said. "Stabilization in the vast region of the Middle East and North Africa will bring countries of that region back to normal life, will remove obstacles on the path of resuming full-scale foreign economic exchanges, which is in the interests of expanding our mutually beneficial trade-and-economic cooperation with them and bigger presence of Russian companies on those promising markets."
"In general, we are principled opponents of the use of methods of pressure in international relations, of restricting lawful rights of states in selfish, lucrative interests," the Russian top diplomat said. "It is a short-sighted policy, which, as a rule, has a boomerang effect on its authors."
"We are confident that the present-day mutually dependent world requires a reasonable balance of interests and joint actions to solve common problems. "We think such an approach should be applicable in the energy sector too," Lavrov said. "In the current conditions, energy producers and consumers should pool efforts to flatten out excessive volatility of prices and ensure normal functioning of markets," he added.
The Russian foreign minister drew attention to the fact that "there are no U.N. Security Council bans on exports of Iranian oil and gas." "Teheran has been selling hydrocarbons to states that are not afraid of unlawful Western restrictions and to those who has been able to reach an ‘amicable agreement’ with Washington," he added.