TEHRAN, Young Journalists Club (YJC) -Mikhail Ulyanov, head of the Russian Foreign Ministry's department for non-proliferation and arms control, told RIA Novosti news agency that the nuclear accord calls on “Iran to refrain from launching ballistic missiles, but … it is just an appeal, not an obligation,” adding, "Sanctions for failing to comply with this call are ridiculous.”
Ulyanov also stressed that no one has been able to prove that Iran’s missiles are designed to deliver weapons of mass destruction, so “the cause for any punishment is non-existent.”
Earlier this week, the administration of US President Donald Trump announced new sanctions on 18 Iranian individuals, groups and networks over their alleged support for the country’s missile program.
The sanctions freeze the assets of those targeted in the US and prevent Americans from doing business with them.
This is while the measures are said to be a violation of the nuclear deal signed between Iran and the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council - the United States, Britain, France, China and Russia - plus Germany on July 14, 2015. They started implementing the agreement on January 16, 2016.
Under the JCPOA, officially called the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), limits were put on Iran’s nuclear activities in exchange for the removal of all nuclear-related bans against the Islamic Republic.
Elsewhere in his comments, the Russian official hailed Iran’s compliance with the JCPOA, but complained of the US conduct, saying that even world powers must adhere to “certain rules of the game.”
“The nuclear deal envisaged some steps by Iran, which it implements in good faith, and reciprocal steps by the ‘group of six’ of western and eastern countries. The US side is implementing its part of the deal very badly," Ulyanov said.
On Wednesday, President Hassan Rouhani pledged that Iran would would respond to the US sanctions in kind.
“Surely, if the Americans seek to apply sanctions against us under whatever title or pretext, the great nation of Iran would aptly respond to them,” he said.