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US "Putin's List" Means Russia Should Consider Regional Coalition
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US "Putin's List" Means Russia Should Consider Regional Coalition

A lawmaker said the inclusion of the Russian foreign minister in a list of targets for potential sanctions against Moscow shows Russia needs to mull over a strategic coalition of regional countries if it is to counter the US moves in the long run.  
In a recent interview with ICANA, Valiollah Nanvakenari underlined the significance of the so-called "Putin's list" released by Washington, saying that the move is part of a bigger plan to diminish Russia's clout in the region, and in particular Syria.
"This move will not go unanswered by Russia," the lawmaker predicted, adding that "we believe Russia certainly needs a regional coalition to frustrate the US plan."
Last week, the US released a sweeping list of prominent Russian business and political figures as part of a sanctions law against Moscow.
The US Treasury report listed every senior member of the political administration at the Kremlin, and every Russian oligarch with a net worth of $1 billion or more. Some of those named are already subject to US sanctions.
Putin on Tuesday referred to the list as a "hostile step" but said Moscow does not want to make the situation even worse.
Nanvakenari warned Russia against playing down the US move, saying it would be the first of many other measures to come against Moscow which ultimately aims to undermine the country's role in the Middle East.

  Moscow's Interests at Stake  
"Russia should be aware that the US—and its ally Israel—are looking after the removal of Russian bases in Syria," he said, adding that "If Russia [through US pressure] loses its interests in Syria, it can be seen as political isolation for Moscow."
The parliamentarian suggested that Russia need to look to the East instead of trying to appease the West.
"An alliance made up of Russia, China, India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Iran would create a great power against the US bullying. Russia should take a wise step here and try to forge [such an alliance]," Nanvakenari said.
"It would be a strategic mistake for Russia not to use this potential." He added.
Konstantin Kosachev, chairman of the foreign affairs committee of the Federation Council, the upper chamber of Russian parliament, criticized the US government for harming Russia-US relations, saying that “the consequences will be toxic and undermine prospects for cooperation for years ahead.” 
He added that the list displays “political paranoia” of the US establishment.

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