Russia Accuses U.S. of Coercing Europeans into Altering Iran Deal

U.S. President Donald Trump’s statements on the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), the 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and world powers, are aimed at blackmailing the European Union, a Russian diplomat said as quoted by Tasnim News.

“It is difficult to consider Trump’s recent statements as anything other than an attempt to blackmail the European participants in the deal. They have been holding intensive consultations with each other and Tehran, Iran’s foreign minister has been here,” Russia’s Permanent Representative to the EU Vladimir Chizhov said, urging the parties to preserve the status quo created by the landmark agreement.

Following Donald Trump’s repeated bashing of the historic 2015 deal, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson announced on Monday that the U.S. is dispatching a diplomatic team to Europe to work out a joint initiative aimed at amending the P5+1 agreement. France, Germany and the UK, who earlier repeatedly urged the U.S. to honor the deal, seemingly expressed some readiness to cooperate with the U.S. administration’s demands.

Chizhov stressed that Moscow did not see any reason for amending the JCPOA.

“The IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency) is the one to verify the implementation of the document,” he said. “They (IAEA officials) have said many times that Iran has been abiding by the terms of the deal.”

The Russian envoy also said that Moscow had been maintaining a dialogue with all the parties to the deal. He said the European parties, namely Britain, France, and Germany, do not seem to be willing to change their position concerning the need to preserve the document in its current form.

“There are no clear signs that the European members of the six-party group (Russia, China, France, Germany, Britain and the U.S.) have changed their position seeking to support the U.S.,” Chizhov went on today.

Earlier this month, Trump waived a series of sanctions against Iran as required under the JCPOA, but warned the European allies and the U.S. Congress that it will be the last such waiver he signs if they fail to agree to radical changes to the nuclear deal. With his announcement, Trump in effect began a four-month countdown until the U.S. carries out its threat to withdraw from the JCPOA. The next sanctions waivers fall due on May 12.

Iran’s Foreign Ministry has made it clear that the JCPOA is a valid international document that would not be renegotiated at all. Since the historic deal was signed in Vienna in July 2015, the IAEA has repeatedly confirmed the Islamic Republic’s compliance with its commitments under the JCPOA, but some other parties, especially the U.S., have failed to live up to their undertakings.