Russian, UK diplomats discuss Iran nuclear program

November 18, 2020 - 22:4

TEHRAN - Russian First Deputy Foreign Minister Vladimir Titov and visiting Minister for European Neighborhood and the Americas at the UK Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office Wendy Morton discussed on Tuesday issues related to Iran, according to the Russian TASS news agency.

Citing a Russian Foreign Ministry statement, the news agency said the two diplomats discussed a variety of issues related to Iran and other regional developments.

“The sides exchanged views on the current international problems and discussed issues of the Ukrainian settlement, stabilization of the situation in Nagorno-Karabakh, the Iranian nuclear program, as well as other topics which the two countries can consolidate their efforts on,” TASS quoted the Russian Foreign Ministry as saying on Tuesday.

Contacts between parties to the 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and world powers – officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) – have significantly increased after news media projected that Joe Biden won the 2020 United States presidential election.

On Monday, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif held a telephone conversation with his British counterpart Dominic Raab.

In the phone call, the two sides conferred on bilateral cooperation between Tehran and London within the framework of the JCPOA, according to a statement issued by the Iranian Foreign Ministry.

Iranian officials, including Zarif, have called on Joe Biden in recent days to return to the JCPOA and lift the sanctions the Trump administration has imposed on Iran. Zarif even said that Biden, unlike what pro-Trump pundits say, is capable of lifting the sanctions through issuing a few executive orders.

“If Mr. Biden becomes president of the United States and moves into the White House, he can repeal all of them with three executive orders. It is just a rumor that the next U.S. president will not be able to lift some of the U.S. JCPOA-related sanctions,” the chief Iranian diplomat in an interview with the pro-government Iran newspaper that was published on Wednesday.

Biden himself has vowed to return to the JCPOA after moving into the White House.

In an opinion piece published by CNN on September 13 then-candidate Biden said he will reenter the nuclear deal if he wins the U.S. presidential election.

“I will offer Tehran a credible path back to diplomacy. If Iran returns to strict compliance with the nuclear deal, the United States would rejoin the agreement as a starting point for follow-on negotiations. With our allies, we will work to strengthen and extend the nuclear deal's provisions, while also addressing other issues of concern,” Biden wrote.

Ever since he was projected to win the November election, Biden kept silent about his potential strategy toward Iran, leaving pundits wondering how he would deal with Iran in the coming years.

But Biden is expected to adopt a policy toward Iran similar to that of President Barack Obama.

In his first comment on what a Biden administration’s policy on Iran might look like, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has expected that the United States foreign policy under Joe Biden would be similar to that seen under President Barack Obama, especially on Iran and climate change, according to a Reuters report.

Regardless of what Biden might do to deal with the situation around the JCPOA, it seems that building consensus on Iran, especially between the two sides of the Atlantic Ocean, would be placed high on Biden’s foreign policy agenda. This was on full display during a recent phone conversation between Biden and French President Emanuel Macron.

During the conversation, Biden told Macron that he would like the U.S. to once again work with its European ally on Iran's nuclear policy, according to Newsweek.

Biden “expressed his readiness to work together on global challenges, including security and development in Africa, the conflicts in Ukraine and Syria, and Iran's nuclear program,” Biden’s transition team said in a press release emailed to Newsweek.

On the other hand, Iran has called on Biden to reconsider Trump’s policy toward Iran and compensate Iran for the past mistakes of Donald Trump.

“The new U.S. administration should reconsider its inhumane behaviors toward other countries in the first place in order to repair the country’s tarnished image in the international community,” Rouhani said last week.

He also said that “now, an opportunity has opened up for the next U.S. administration to make up for the past mistakes and return to abiding by international commitments through respecting international regulations.”

SM/PA

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