A top Russian official is worried about the team of advisers surrounding President Donald Trump, who reportedly seem to be pushing him into alarming and aggressive rhetoric against Iran and China.
Konstantin Kosachev, who serves as chairman of the International Affairs Committee of the Federation Council, said in a statement reported by Russian news agency Interfax that the Trump administration’s stance on Iran and China could harm U.S. relations with Russia.
“As is known, the Trump team has brought together quite a lot of people who have for a long time and consistently held tough anti-Iranian positions,” Kosachev said. “Unfortunately, they are actively influencing Trump, forcing him into bellicose rhetoric at the very least. And this is quite an alarming trend.”
“Along with the new team’s anti-Chinese initiatives, it could have a strong negative influence on Russian-American relations. After all, Russia has its own interests and its own approaches in both these areas,” Kosachev added.
National security adviser Michael Flynn said Wednesday that the Trump administration was putting Iran on notice for testing ballistic missiles. Iran conducted a ballistic missile test Sunday, which according to Flynn constituted a violation of United Nations Security Council Resolution 2231. Flynn also targeted Iran for the attack on a Saudi Arabian ship by Iranian-backed Houthi rebels.
That notice Flynn mentioned appears to have materialized Friday in the form of sanctions imposed on 13 people and 12 companies from Iran. Trump also tweeted out Friday that Iran is “playing with fire.”
Not to be outdone, Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif shot back on Twitter, saying, “Iran unmoved by threats as we derive security from our people. We’ll never initiate war, but we can only rely on our own means of defense.”
Like Kosachev mentioned, the Trump administration has also had some harsh words for China. Steve Bannon, who sits on the principles committee of the National Security Council, stated last year that the U.S. and China will go to war over artificial islands in the South China Sea, a major point of contention for the two countries.
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