Iran tensions: Russia says it will counter 'illegal' US sanctions on Tehran

24 June 2019, 11:16 | Updated: 24 June 2019, 15:33

Russia says it will counter "illegal" sanctions Donald Trump plans to impose on Iran after the downing of a US drone.

Deputy foreign minister Sergei Ryabkov has not revealed what steps Russia would take in response to the measures taken by Donald Trump aimed at stopping the country from obtaining nuclear weapons.

Mr Ryabkov has said sanctions would increase tensions and that Washington should instead be seeking dialogue with Tehran, according to Russian news agencies.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the measures set to be imposed on the Middle Eastern country are illegal.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has arrived in Saudi Arabia where he has met with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman amid heightened tensions with Iran - a rival of the Arab kingdom.

Mr Pompeo said he would be talking to officials in the Persian Gulf as well as Asia and Europe as he sets out to build an international coalition against Tehran.

He said the US is prepared to negotiate with Iran, but repeated Mr Trump's claim that new US sanctions will be imposed on Monday.

Mr Pompeo will travel to Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates later, a close US ally.

US president Donald Trump announced further sanctions in a move aimed at preventing Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons.

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It came as the White House confirmed the US had launched a cyber attack against Iranian military computer systems.

Iran's navy chief has said Tehran is able to shoot down other US spy drones such as the one downed by the Revolutionary Guards last week.

The semi-official Tasnim news agency quoted Rear Admiral Hossein Khanzadi as saying Iran can always deliver another "crushing response ... and the enemy knows it".

Mr Trump said he pulled out of airstrikes in retaliation for the downing of the drone because the attack would have killed 150 people.

The US has refuted Iranian claims that the drone violated is airspace.

Mr Trump, however, has said that he appreciated Iran's decision not to shoot down a manned US spy plane carrying 30 people in the same area as the drone.

Andrew Murrison, Britain's minister for the Middle East, visited Tehran on Sunday and said Iran almost certainly bears responsibility for attacks on tankers in the Gulf of Oman.

Iran's foreign ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi hit back at Mr Murrison's remarks and said: "What (he) said after the meetings was not constructive.

"It seems Britain is siding with America due to its domestic problems and Brexit crisis."