No Prospect of Let-Up in Russia-US Tensions

No Prospect of Let-Up in Russia-US Tensions No Prospect of Let-Up in Russia-US Tensions

Lawmakers said the recent sanctions imposed by Washington on Russia and the harsh reciprocal steps taken by Kremlin are indications that differences between the two world powers are diverging rather than converging.

In a recent talk with ICANA, lawmaker Alireza Rahimi, a member of Majlis National Security and Foreign Policy Commission, said democrats and Republicans, regardless of who is the president, are in unison in their stance against Moscow.

"It seems that with the passage of such sanctions, the US establishment does not want to settle the tensions and disagreements with Russia," he said.

The US Senate voted almost unanimously on Thursday to slap new sanctions on Russia for its alleged role in the 2016 US presidential election and its annexation of Ukraine's Crimea in 2014.

Late on Friday, the White House issued a statement that US President Donald Trump would sign the bill after reviewing the final version.

Russian President Vladimir Putin announced on Sunday that 755 US diplomats must leave Russia, according to TASS, in retaliation for new sanctions passed by the US Congress.

"We were waiting for quite a long time that maybe something would change for the better. But it appears that even if it changes someday, it will not change soon," Putin said.

"Diplomatic countermeasures by Moscow are just the first step and after this, we should be waiting for some practical measures as well," Rahimi added without elaborating what such measures could be.

  Unipolar World Shattered

Lawmaker Jahanbakhsh Mohebbinia said, "The strategic interests of Americans have been dented by the strong Russian presence in the Middle East, not to mention the Russian involvement in Eastern Europe. Leaning to China and Iran would be on Kremlin's agenda now that they have seen the confrontational US approach."

Sputnik reported on Monday that four Chinese spy ships had joined Russian reconnaissance, increasing pressure on the Pentagon in the Pacific. Pointing to the sweeping changes that followed the breakup of Soviet Union, Mohebbinia said, "The Americans thought at the time that they had the unipolar world they were after, but this proved to be just a pipedream."

Lawmaker Heshmatollah Falahatpisheh said Moscow would now start to pull its strings to promote other strategic alliances, like BRICS, Shanghai Cooperation Organization and even Tehran.

BRICS is the acronym for an association of five major emerging national economies: Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.

"The conflicting US and Russian interests are numerous. They seemingly are testing one another now to determine what kind of confrontation they can adopt," he said.

  Carrot and Stick

Lawmaker Jalil Rahimi said the US has always sought to diminish the Russian clout, noting that they sometimes do it through negotiations and sometimes through pressure.

"Currently, the US wants to make up for its setbacks [in the Middle East], so, on the one hand, they want to negotiate with Russia, and on the other, they want to exert force to push their own agenda; a carrot and stick policy," he said.

Trump and Putin met for the first time at a G20 summit in Germany this month in what both sides described as a productive encounter where they reached an agreement to create a de-escalation zone in southern Syria in what many observers believed could be a turning point in Moscow-Washington ties.

However, Russian officials have become increasingly convinced that the US Congress and Trump's political opponents will not allow him to mend ties, even if he wants to.

Relations between the two countries are languishing at a post-Cold War low because of the allegations that Russian cyber interference in the election was intended to boost Trump's chances, something Moscow flatly denies. Trump has denied any collusion between his campaign and Russian officials.


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