Lavrov and Zarif to discuss Iran nuclear deal and Karabakh in Moscow

26 January


Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov will meet with his Iranian counterpart Mohammad Javad Zarif on Tuesday.

Contacts between the Foreign Ministers of Russia and Iran are regular: their last face-to-face meeting was held in the Russian capital four months ago, in September last year. A visit by Zarif to Moscow in November last year was also announced, but it was postponed because the Iranian government was holding budget meetings, at which the Foreign Minister's presence was also required.

This time, the Iranian minister will arrive in Moscow from Baku as part of a tour that will focus on resolving the situation in Nagorno-Karabakh. This topic is expected to be one of the main ones in the upcoming talks. The sides will also discuss the problems of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action on the Iranian nuclear program and issues related to overcoming the crisis in Syria.

New opportunities for Karabakh

The Nagorno-Karabakh conflict has made the importance of regional cooperation in preserving security and stability in the South Caucasus all the more acute. Lavrov previously noted that Moscow and Tehran have similar views on how to solve this problem. Lavrov said that the November 9 trilateral statement on Karabakh by Russian, Azerbaijani and Armenian leaders echoed Iran's proposal to adopt a regional approach.

Now, with the cessation of hostilities mediated by Russia, initiatives to build economic ties and restore normal life through the efforts of all key players in the region gain priority. In this context, a fruitful stop in Moscow during Zarif's trip to the Transcaucasus and Turkey may open new opportunities. "The progressive development of mutually beneficial cooperation and the combination of Russia and Iran's considerable potential can not only have a favorable effect on the situation of both states, but also improve the situation in the region of the Caucasus, the Middle East, and create additional conditions to ensure sustainable peace and stability there," the Russian diplomatic office said on the eve of the ministerial meeting.

Hopes for a nuclear deal

The JCPOA has always been a subject of close and intense dialogue between Moscow and Tehran. For example, last year, despite all the difficulties due to the pandemic, Zarif flew to Russia to discuss the topic three times at fairly short intervals. The fate of the agreement went through a critical phase during the US presidency of Donald Trump, whose administration went to great lengths in 2020 to irrevocably bury the Iran deal. Russia and Iran, on the other hand, have repeatedly reaffirmed their determination to resist these pressures and defend the JCPOA.

The election of a new US president, Joseph Biden, has renewed hopes for a more balanced approach by Washington and a return of the parties to the nuclear deal. His administration has already signaled some encouraging signs on the matter, though the US and Iran are still making mixed statements on the official level. No matter how events unfold, there is no doubt that Lavrov and Zarif will closely cooperate and reconcile their positions on this issue.

This also applies to the issue of the Syrian settlement. "The positions of Moscow and Tehran on the Syrian problem coincide in many respects. Active interaction between our countries within the framework of the Astana settlement process in Syria remains," Smolensk Square added.

Intense cooperation

On the eve of Zarif's visit, the Russian diplomatic mission also drew attention to the active development of bilateral relations. The intensity of contacts between Moscow and Tehran at various levels, including at the highest level, also corresponds to this positive dynamics. "The intensity of political dialogue has increased - last year the Presidents of Russia and Iran communicated four times by phone," the Russian Foreign Ministry recalled.

The sides also noted the mutual focus on expanding economic ties and increasing trade turnover. To this end, it is planned to hold a regular meeting of the Russian-Iranian permanent commission on trade and economic cooperation this year. The intensification of interregional ties also contributes to this.

"We intend to further expand mutually beneficial ties with Iran, to continue cooperation in the interests of regional stability and international security. We count on strengthening positive trends in all spheres of Russian-Iranian cooperation," they concluded in Smolensk Square.


GSV "Russia - Islamic World"

Photo: Russian Foreign Ministry

Based on materials from TASS