Russia has been on Iran’s side in hard times: Zarif

September 2, 2019

TEHRAN – Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif on Monday called Tehran-Moscow ties “strategic” and said Russia has always been beside Iran in difficult times.

Zarif made the remarks upon arrival in Moscow, IRNA reported.

Zarif said Tehran will never forget the friendly countries which have stood beside the Iranians in difficult days.

In his visit to Russia, Zarif held a meeting with his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov.

Efforts to salvage of the 2015 nuclear deal, officially called the JCPOA, and security in the Persian Gulf featured high in the talks between Zarif and Lavrov.

Lavrov said that Russia welcomes any step in line with the situation around the JCPOA.

During a joint press conference, Zarif said that Iran will scale back its nuclear commitments more and more if Europeans fail to shield Tehran’s economy from sanctions reimposed by the United States after Trump’s administration’s withdrawal from the deal.

Under the JCPOA, Iran agreed to put limits on its nuclear work in exchange for termination of economic and financial sanctions.

Zarif said, “It is meaningless to continue unilateral commitments to the deal if we don’t enjoy its benefits as promised by the deal’s European parties.” “It is meaningless to continue unilateral commitments to the deal if we don’t enjoy its benefits as promised by the deal’s European parties,” Reuters quoted him as saying.

He also ruled out possibility of renegotiating the JCPOA.

“It is not about renegotiating JCPOA because, as you and I know probably better than anybody else because both of us were involved in these negotiations from the very beginning, it is impossible to open this Pandora box and close it again,” Sputnik quoted him as saying.

Zarif also praised the partnership between Iran, Russia, and China.

“The nature of our relations with Russia and China is different from our relations with the ... other participants of the JCPOA because we believe that Iran, Russia, and China have never stopped cooperating ... So we consider Russia and China as partners that have ... held strong positions and who contribute to the continued survival of the JCPOA,” Zarif explained.

He expressed regret over European signatories’ failure to take necessary action to fulfill their obligations under the deal.

“And that is why we have had to continue our conversations with them, including [during] my visits to France, in order to make sure that the Europeans will be able to implement their obligations under the JCPOA,” Zarif noted.

U.S. President Donald Trump quit the nuclear deal in May 2018 and returned the previous sanctions and imposed new ones.

On May 8, exactly one year after the U.S. withdrawal, Tehran began reducing its commitments to the JCPOA at bi-monthly intervals.

‘Iran welcomes Russian proposal for security in Persian Gulf’

Zarif also said that Tehran welcomes a Russian proposal for ensuring security in the Persian Gulf.

He said that security in the Persian Gulf is very important for Iran and Russia, and the two countries share close views in this respect.

“We believe that security in this region can be maintained through cooperation of the littoral states and not through rivalry and confrontation. Unfortunately, the United States seeks to raise tension in the region through sending forces,” Zarif said.

He added, “Iran welcomes Russia’s initiative for dialogue on security in the Persian Gulf and is ready to support non-aggression pact among the Persian Gulf countries.”  

Elsewhere, Zarif said that Iran-Russia relations are in their “best shape” in view of the past few decades.

The two countries make efforts to expand interaction, he added.

NA/PA

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