Russia: US sanctions may hurt talks on Iran, Syria

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MOSCOW (AP) — Russia on Tuesday angrily criticized the latest U.S. sanctions, saying they could derail cooperation with Washington on dealing with the Iranian nuclear standoff and the Syrian crisis.

Russia-U.S. ties have plunged to post-Cold War lows over Ukraine as Washington has introduced economic sanctions against Moscow for its annexation of Ukraine's Crimean Peninsula and support for a pro-Russian insurgency in eastern Ukraine. In the latest move, the U.S. has imposed sanctions on four Russians under a law targeting Russian human rights violators.

The Russian Foreign Ministry on Tuesday dismissed the new U.S. sanctions as unfounded and warned Washington that its actions "are putting in question the prospects for bilateral cooperation in settling the situation around the Iranian nuclear program, the Syrian crisis and other acute international problems."

"We haven't left, and will not leave, such unfriendly gestures without response, as Washington might have seen," the ministry said.

Russia has cooperated with the United States and other global powers on efforts to negotiate a settlement on the standoff over the Iranian nuclear program. Washington has said that Moscow has played a constructive role in the Iranian nuclear talks, despite U.S.-Russian differences on Ukraine and other issues.

Russia has staunchly supported Syrian President Bashar Assad's regime during the nation's civil war, but Moscow has recently tried to broker talks between the Syrian government and the opposition. The negotiations have been tentatively scheduled for the end of January.

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