Russia reaffirmed its support for the Iran nuclear agreement, as today is the deadline for U.S. President Donald Trump to decide whether to re-impose sanctions against the Islamic Republic, which were lifted under the 2015 international agreement, officially termed: the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action – or JCPOA. At a meeting in Moscow with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov confirmed Russia’s stance regarding the JCPOA, asserting that Moscow will continue to “defend the viability of this program and its major importance in securing “regional stability.” Minister Lavrov said, “We will continue to defend the viability of this program and its major importance in securing regional stability and solving the issues of non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction,” the Russian top diplomat told his Iranian counterpart.
During their meeting, Iran’s top diplomat took the opportunity to condemn the United States for not fulfilling its obligations under the JCPOA, accusing Washington of pursuing destructive policies. Minister Zarif said, “Unfortunately another member of JCPOA (The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action) not only have not fulfilled its JCPOA obligations but also implements destructive policies,” he said.
Meanwhile, Foreign Minister Zarif travelled to Brussels this morning for a scheduled meeting convened by EU Foreign Policy Chief Federica Mogherini, together with the top diplomats of Britain, France and Germany which were part of the P5+1 that negotiated the nuclear agreement. Ahead of the meeting, German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel urged the United States to separate the nuclear agreement with Iran and other issues pertaining to the Islamic Republic, including its destabilizing actions across the Middle East. Minister Gabriel said, “We are discussing with our American allies and friends that we should separate two things from each other. First we want to preserve the JCPOA, the nuclear deal with Iran, because it’s in our interest not to develop, or to see that nuclear weapons are developed in Iran. On the other hand, we see the difficult role that Iran has in the region, in Lebanon, in Syria, in Yemen, and of course our American friends are right when they say that we have to address our concerns about the situation, and we have to discuss also with the Foreign Minister of Iran what to do, to bring another, I would say, to bring Iran another, more positive role in this region,” the German top diplomat told reporters before entering the meeting.
A spokesman for Iran’s atomic energy agency said that if the United States reimposes sanctions against Tehran, it would be viewed as a clear violation of the international nuclear deal. The spokesman further asserted that the Islamic Republic had the capacity to greatly increase its enrichment of uranium.