Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on Thursday that preserving the international agreement on Iran’s nuclear program was important, as failure of the deal would send “an alarming message for the entire international security architecture,” Menr news reports.
Speaking at the Security Council, Lavrov said the overwhelming majority of the international community recognizes that the 2015 agreement between Iran and the six world powers of Britain, China, France, Russia, the United States plus Germany is making a tangible contribution to strengthening the nuclear non-proliferation regime and to the maintenance of international peace and security.
“We cannot for the benefit of political agendas of certain countries abandon a genuine achievement of international diplomacy. The failure of JCPOA, especially as a result of one of the parties of the P5+1, would be an alarming message for the entire international security architecture, including the prospects for dealing with the nuclear problem on the Korean Peninsula,” said Lavrov.
Lavrov was clearly referring to threats from Washington that it might pull out of the deal unless it is to be “fixed.” Tehran has said it will not renegotiate the deal, under which Iran agreed to limit its nuclear program in exchange for the lifting of international sanctions.
U.S. President Donald Trump last Friday waived nuclear sanctions against Iran, but warned that he would not do it again unless the deal is modified. Washington is concerned that the deal — thrashed out over 12 years of talks — does nothing to punish Iran over its ballistic missile program, interference in regional conflicts or human rights abuses at home.
Russia – one of the six world powers, along with the U.S., that signed the deal with Iran – dismissed U.S. concerns as politically-motivated. Russia’s top diplomat, who stressed that Russia will work to preserve the existing Iran nuclear deal, also warned that the agreement’s collapse could be detrimental to dialogue with North Korea. In a veiled message to the Trump administration, the Russian minister added:
“We will not support what the United States is trying to do, changing the wording of the agreement, incorporating things that will be absolutely unacceptable for Iran. We cannot for the benefit of political agendas of certain countries abandon a genuine achievement of international diplomacy. If this arrangement is taken away and Iran is told: you remain within the framework of your obligations and we will reimpose sanctions – then put yourself in North Korea’s place. They are being promised that sanctions will be lifted if they give up their nuclear program. They will give it up, but no one will lift the sanctions against Pyongyang.”
Earlier this week in Moscow, Lavrov said that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un will not agree to give up nuclear weapons in exchange for lifting sanctions if the same arrangement with Tehran collapses. Lavrov noted that the Security Council itself bears a responsibility for the implementation of the deal as it supported the JCPOA by unanimously adopting Resolution 2231 in 2015.
Speaking at the same Security Council meeting, U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley insisted that Iran failed to comply with Resolution 2231, a claim that remains controversial as the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), which is tasked by Resolution 2231 to verify Iran’s compliance with the JCPOA, has repeatedly confirmed Iran’s compliance.
Lavrov’s position was echoed by representatives of several other countries at the council. In his address to the Security Council, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said that it was in the world’s interest that the agreement “be preserved.”
Dutch ambassador to the United Nations Karel van Oosterom said the deal is “a milestone accomplishment of international diplomacy.” It has been proved to be a success, as verified by the IAEA, the UN nuclear watchdog, he said. Van Oosterom, whose delegation is the facilitator for Resolution 2231, said it is essential that all parties continue to fulfill their commitments to the JCPOA.
Swedish ambassador Olof Skoog said the Iran nuclear deal is an important example of the potential of diplomacy.
“The JCPOA is designed to ensure the exclusively peaceful nature of the Iranian nuclear program. This crucial agreement contributes to stability within the region and beyond and contributes significantly to strengthening the global non-proliferation architecture.”
He said the European Union remains committed to supporting the full implementation of the JCPOA, and asked all other parties to stick to their commitments.
Francois Delattre, the French ambassador to the UN, called for the vigorous implementation of both JCPOA and Resolution 2231. Both texts, he said, constitute a cornerstone for regional and international security and stability.
“It is true that the agreement does not cover all our concerns, particularly Iran’s ballistic missile activity. For this reason, we wish to see frank dialogue,” the ambassador told the council.