Russia and Iran are interested in preserving the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) on the Iranian nuclear program and hope for the return of the United States to the implementation of the relevant UN Security Council resolution, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Tuesday at a joint press conference following talks with his Iranian counterpart Mohammad Javad Zarif.
"We hope that the efforts that are being made now will yield results and allow us to preserve the JCPOA, and the United States will return to full implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 2231. This, in turn, will create conditions for compliance with all the requirements of the nuclear deal with Iran, " the Russian Foreign Minister said.
The Minister drew attention to the fact that Moscow and Tehran have a common position on the future of the JCPOA. "We are interested in the full preservation of the action plan and are convinced that the path to this lies solely through the consistent and comprehensive implementation of the provisions of this important document by all parties involved in strict accordance with the UN Security Council resolution," he stressed.
In this regard, Lavrov recalled the joint ministerial statement adopted on December 21 last year by the countries that remain in the JCPOA, which talks about how to move towards preserving and implementing the agreements on the Iranian nuclear program.
Return of the USA
Lavrov said that Russia hears US statements about returning to the JCPOA to resolve the situation around the Iranian nuclear program and will welcome it.
"We have heard a lot of statements from the team of [US President] Joe Biden, which relate to his plans in foreign policy. Among these plans, the intention to return to full compliance with the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action on the Iranian Nuclear Program was announced. If this happens, we will only welcome it, " he said.
Lavrov recalled that Moscow and Tehran have repeatedly expressed their support for all the participants of the JCPOA to return to fulfilling their obligations. "If this happens, and we hope that we will be able to achieve such a result, then, of course, relations between Iran and the Russian Federation will benefit, since they will be removed from the illegitimate, illegal unilateral sanctions both by the United States and by a number of other countries," the Minister added.
The JCPOA was signed by Iran, the permanent members of the UN Security Council (Russia, the United Kingdom, China, the United States, France) and Germany in 2015. The deal limited Tehran's nuclear development in exchange for the lifting of UN sanctions and unilateral restrictive measures by the US and the European Union. Iran has pledged to enrich uranium to a level of no more than 3.67% for 15 years and to maintain enriched uranium reserves at a level not exceeding 300 kg, as well as not to build additional heavy-water reactors, not to accumulate heavy water and not to develop a nuclear explosive device. In 2018, the United States announced its withdrawal from the JCPOA and imposed economic sanctions against Iran.
Iran's withdrawal from commitments
According to Lavrov, Russia is concerned that Iran has refused from its voluntary commitments under the JCPOA on its nuclear program, but at the root of the problem lies Washington's non-compliance with its obligations.
"Russia is very concerned that Iran is forced to withdraw from its voluntary commitments under the JCPOA. We understand that at the root of the problem lies the systematic long-term non-compliance and even violation by the administration of [US President Donald] Trump's commitment to resolution 2231, which was approved by the JCPOA, " he said.
"Not only the violation by the United States itself is at the heart of the current situation, but also that Washington demanded that all other countries of the world not comply with resolution 2231 in the part that ensured unhindered trade and economic relations with Iran. We understand that this is at the root of the problem, " the Russian Foreign Minister said.
Lavrov noted that Russia continues to persistently work with the European participants of the JCPOA, who clearly " showed an unwillingness to quarrel too much with the United States." "We have repeatedly heard that President Donald Trump is the first of his predecessors who did not start a single war. So, both in the United States and abroad, there were many people who wanted to use this story with the US withdrawal from the JCPOA to provoke Iran to start another war in response. This does not make the Trump administration an exception in comparison with those who preceded it," the Minister added.
The Russian Foreign Minister did not rule out that now there are also many such applicants. "We are now doing everything possible to find, using the statements of Joe Biden and his team about the desire to return to the JCPOA, so that on the basis of these aspirations, we, together with Iran, with the Europeans, with the PRC, can find concrete ways in the very near future to fully implement all the participants of the JCPOA. Thus, we would return to the treasury of international diplomacy this greatest achievement in the field of ensuring the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons and thereby knock the trump cards out of the hands of those who would like to aggravate this situation to the limit," the Minister said.
Lavrov stressed that Russia would actively try to prevent such a scenario, and also expressed confidence that this is in the interests of Iran, the countries of the region and all Western states.
The situation in the Persian Gulf
Lavrov said that Russia is not among the countries that want to link progress on security in the Persian Gulf with the preservation of the JCPOA to resolve the situation around the Iranian nuclear program.
"There is a temptation for some countries to link progress in regional security with the restoration of the JCPOA. We are not of these countries. On the contrary, we are convinced that the JCPOA should be resumed in full, without any preconditions, " he said.
Lavrov recalled that a year and a half ago, an updated Russian Concept of ensuring collective security in the Persian Gulf was presented. "We put forward a corresponding proposal to develop a security concept in the Persian Gulf region almost 20 years ago. And since then, we have not just repeated it, we follow the changing situation in the region and in the world as a whole and try in every possible way to update our approaches so that they look relevant," he added.
Meeting of the "five" of the UN Security Council, Germany and Iran
According to Lavrov, the proposal of Russian President Vladimir Putin to hold a videoconference meeting of the leaders of the "five" permanent members of the UN Security Council, Germany and Iran remains in force.
"Last fall, President [of Russia Vladimir] Putin proposed holding a high-level meeting between the leaders of the permanent members of the [UN] Security Council, Iran and the Federal Republic of Germany in the form of a videoconference, due to coronavirus restrictions. This offer remains valid, " he said.
At the same time, the Minister stressed that the Russian Federation is ready to join any process aimed at achieving peace, security and good-neighborliness in the Persian Gulf region with the support of all the states surrounding this region.
On August 14, 2020, Russian President Vladimir Putin proposed to hold an online summit of the" five " permanent members of the UN Security Council (Russia, Great Britain, China, the United States, France), Germany and Iran, dedicated to the problems of implementing the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action on the Iranian Nuclear Program. As noted in the statement of the Russian leader published on the Kremlin's website, the purpose of this event is to "outline steps to avoid confrontation, aggravation of the situation in the UN Security Council."
GSV "Russia - Islamic World"
Photo: Russian Foreign Ministry
Based on materials from TASS