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Russia Says U.S. Sanctions Against Iran Are Not Legitimate

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov listens to a question during a news conference at the foreign ministry in Madrid, Spain, November 6, 2018.

Russian officials said on Tuesday that U.S. sanctions on Iran were not legitimate, in Moscow's first official comment since Washington restored sanctions on Tehran.

Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Moscow, itself a target of separate U.S. sanctions, expected there would be ways to pursue economic cooperation with Iran despite the reimposition of sanctions on Monday on the country's oil, banking and transport sectors.

Russia and Iran have spoken of economic cooperation in the past to offset the effects of sanctions, but options for impactful bilateral trade and new projects are limited.

Speaking in Madrid, Lavrov said Washington had used "unacceptable methods" to pressure operators of the SWIFT global financial network into cutting off Iranian banks.

Separately, Russian President Vladimir Putin discussed the Iran sanctions with his security council, Russian news agencies reported on Tuesday citing Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov who said sanctions were "illegitimate".

Russia and its European partners were looking for ways to maintain economic ties with Tehran, he said after meeting his Spanish counterpart Josep Borrell, but provided no details.

Reporting by Reuters