Russia, Iran Say to Adhere to Nuclear Deal

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and his Iranian counterpart Mohammad Javad Zarif reaffirmed their commitment to a multilateral deal on Iran’s nuclear program here on Wednesday, Xinhua reports. They expressed willingness to continue to fulfill obligations under the deal, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), according to a press release of the Russian Foreign Ministry after a meeting of the two ministers.

“Possible disruption of the JCPOA’s implementation due to Washington’s actions would go against the task of maintaining international and regional security and stability and negatively affect multilateral efforts in the field of nuclear non-proliferation,” it said.

Zarif accused Washington of pursuing “destructive policies.” Lavrov vowed that Moscow will defend the deal as a “key contribution to the regional stability and nuclear non-proliferation.”

The JCPOA was reached between Iran, the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council – Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States – plus Germany, in July 2015. Under the deal, Iran agrees to halt its nuclear weapon program in exchange for economic aid and lifting of international sanctions.

After Tehran had implemented its part of the deal, which was confirmed during IAEA’s inspection trips, on January 16, 2016 the U.S. administration under President Barack Obama lifted sanctions imposed on Iran over its nuclear program. Nevertheless, many other restrictions, for instance over Iranian ballistic missiles, remained in place. On October 13, 2017, current U.S. President Donald Trump refused to confirm Iran was implementing the nuclear deal, alleging Iran had committed “multiple violations,” which Tehran has denied.

Iran’s foreign minister is visiting Moscow for talks focusing on the future of the 2015 nuclear deal with world powers and the situation in Syria, where both nations support President Bashar Assad. Zarif’s trip to Moscow follows a series of anti-government protests in Iran. Zarif and Lavrov did not mention the unrest in their opening remarks.

In the Wednesday meeting, Zarif reviewed the developing ties between Tehran and Moscow and hailed the positive and constructive positions of the Russian Federation regarding the US efforts to meddle in Iran’s domestic affairs at the UN.

For his part, Lavrov touched upon the significance of the nuclear deal saying that it is very important that the International Atomic Energy Agency has confirmed Iran’s compliance with its JCPOA commitments. He also noted that Russia will continue to emphasize the important role of the IAEA.

“Russia will stand up for viability of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) on Iran’s nuclear program. It is important to share views on how Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) is being implemented. We note IAEA Director General’s clearly-defined statement that Iran meets its commitments in full. We will advocate for the viability of this deal and its most significant contribution to regional stability and to solving the issue of nonproliferation of weapons of mass destruction,” Russian Foreign Minister said at his meeting with the Iranian counterpart.

Zarif commended Moscow for its sensible stances against the U.S. attempts to spur the UN Security Council to act against Iran over a domestic issue. He hailed as “positive and constructive” the Russian Federation’s stances against Washington’s attempts to put forth issues related to Iran’s internal affairs at a UNSC meeting.

At an emergency session of the UNSC on January 5, held at the request of Washington, nearly all nations voiced concern that the Security Council was not the appropriate venue to discuss the unrest in Iran that broke out in late December.

During the meeting in Moscow, Lavrov said it was a matter of great significance that the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has confirmed Iran’s compliance with the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), stressing that Russia insists on the major role of the UN nuclear agency.

Zarif also condemned the US House of Representatives’ resolution in support of the recent riots in Iran.

“The US government has lost the confidence of the world including the people of Iran. Our people have proved they are following to realize their rights and the Iranian government and the Islamic Republic Establishment are both respectful towards the rights of the nation and assert that the people have the right to choose and criticize,” asserted Mohammad Javad Zarif, the Foreign Minister of the Islamic Republic of Iran.

Foreign minister’s remarks came after the U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill on Tuesday supporting the recent riots in Iran.

“None of U.S. allies in the region give the same rights to their people and interestingly neither U.S. government nor U.S. Congress are worried about lack of democracy in these countries. We are more than anything dependent on our people and we have always asserted that we owe our security, serenity, peace, and economic progress to our people,” said Zarif referring to Saudi Arabia, UAE, and Bahrain which are ruled by monarchs with no parliament and election in their political system.