'Arrogant Provocations' Are a Threat to U.S. International Standing, Russia Warns

Russia's Foreign Ministry slammed America's latest policy on Iran in a statement issued online Tuesday and reported by state news agency Tass.

The government ministry called a recent U.S. move to clamp down on countries buying oil from Iran a "mistake" that will harm ordinary citizens. It argued the U.S. risks its international standing by pursuing its current course of action.

"This policy won't add international weight to Americans—the rest of the world sees perfectly well that Washington's policy is getting increasingly aggressive and reckless," the statement read, according to Tass.

On Monday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced the U.S. would end 180-day waivers that currently protect eight countries from sanctions over their import of Iranian oil. Issued in November, the waivers will expire May 2.

"The Trump Administration has taken Iran's oil exports to historic lows, and we are dramatically accelerating our pressure campaign," Pompeo said in a statement. "We will continue to apply maximum pressure on the Iranian regime until its leaders change their destructive behavior, respect the rights of the Iranian people and return to the negotiating table."

He told reporters, "The goal remains simple: to deprive the outlaw regime of the funds it had used to destabilize the Middle East for four decades and incentivize Iran to behave like a normal country."

Reasserting the country's commitment to an Obama-era nuclear deal, Russia's Foreign Ministry argued it was "doing justice to the sovereignty of Iran"—a country that "does not respond to arrogant provocations from the U.S."

President Donald Trump withdrew from the deal—which offered sanction relief in return for restrictions on Iran's nuclear activities—last May, to the chagrin of fellow signatories including the U.K., France and China.

Russia's Foreign Ministry called on "sober-minded" parties still committed to the Obama-era nuclear deal to "ensure stable functioning of this unique agreement."

Meanwhile in Iran, Defense Minister Amir Hatami slammed Trump on Monday, comparing his politics to those of the Nazi party. "Today, we are facing different security issues in the world," he told journalists. "Today, the most important issue in the world is Trumpism, which is similar to Nazism in quality and has seriously endangered global security with such traits as selfishness, cruelty and violation of humanitarian principles and international rules."

Back in the U.S., some pundits have suggested the State Department's actions will increase gas prices. "Consumers could be staring down a $3 per gallon national average now, at least for a time as we get into the start of the summer driving season. That's going to hit consumer confidence," John Kilduff, a partner at Again Capital, a hedge fund focusing on energy derivatives, said Monday on CNBC's Squawk Box.

Russia, Iran, Oil
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo speaks during a press conference at the U.S. Department of State in Washington, D.C., on April 22. The U.S. announced on Monday it would no longer grant sanctions exemptions to Iran's oil customers, potentially punishing allies, such as India, as it tries to squeeze Tehran's top export. ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS/AFP/Getty
'Arrogant Provocations' Are a Threat to U.S. International Standing, Russia Warns | World