Tensions with Iran can only be reduced through wise and skillful diplomacy: Russia

January 9, 2021 - 20:16

TEHRAN – A senior Russian diplomat has called on the United States to drop the so-called “economic leverage” against Iran and pursue de-escalation through skillful diplomacy.

The diplomat, Mikhail Ulyanov, Russia’s permanent representative to international organizations in Vienna, described the U.S. sanctions pressure on Iran as totally failed.

He was commenting on Andrea Stricker's tweet, a research fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, who called for preserving what she called U.S. “economic leverage” against Iran to achieve another nuclear deal. Stricker tweeted a quote from a recent Foreign Policy magazine’s essay co-authored by Richard Goldberg, a former Trump National Security official, and Mark Dubowitz, the chief executive officer of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.

“If Obama contends sanctions pressure was necessary to produce the nuclear deal, how could Biden ever negotiate far more restrictions on Iran with far less economic leverage?” @rich_goldberg & @mdubowitz expose the flawed strategic logic,” Stricker tweeted.

This tweet elicited a response from Ulyanov.

“The answer is clear: reduced tension in the region can only be achieved through a wise and skillful diplomacy which should replace totally failed ‘economic leverage,’” the Russian diplomat said.

Iran’s nuclear program has become a matter of debate among pundits and experts after Iran announced last week that it resumes 20% uranium enrichment.

Earlier last week, Ulyanov had said that Iran’s decision to increase uranium enrichment level up to 20% was predictable.

“Yes, we should have expected something like that, especially in the light of the law adopted recently by the Iranian Parliament. The only question is if this step is being made by Tehran at the right time?” the Russian diplomat tweeted two days before Iran started to enrich uranium to 20%.

Iran had informed the International Atomic Energy Agency of its decision to raise uranium enrichment level before it announced the resumption of 20% uranium enrichment. Ulyanov confirmed that Iran had submitted a letter to the UN nuclear watchdog ahead of enriching uranium to 20%, adding that the IAEA director-general has briefed the IAEA Board of Governors and the UN Security Council on the latest Iranian decision.

“IAEA DG reported to the Board of Governors and UNSC about the intention of #Tehran to start enrichment op to 20%. Usually, such confidential reports are leaked to the media in 10 minutes. Today it happened in about 2 hours. The person who leaks is a human being - relaxed on holiday,” Ulyanov said in a tweet on Friday.

On the same day, the head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI), Ali Akbar Salehi, officially confirmed that Iran had told the IAEA that it would soon start 20% uranium enrichment in line with the recent law passed by the Iranian Parliament requiring the AEOI to make preparations to substantially increase the country’s nuclear activities within few months if the Western countries that are party to the 2015 nuclear deal fail to honor their obligations.

Two days later, Iran formally announced the resumption of 20% uranium enrichment.

“A few minutes ago, the process of producing enriched uranium to 20% purity has begun. And the first product of UF6 enriched uranium will be produced in a few hours,” Ali Rabiei, the Iranian government spokesman, announced on Monday morning.

The spokesman also said that President Hassan Rouhani had issued an order stipulating that the recent nuclear law passed by the Parliament should be implemented.

Iran has said that this decision is reversible upon full compliance of all parties to the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, also known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).


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