Russia calls on U.S. to abandon ‘meaningless policy of maximum pressure’ on Iran

March 9, 2021 - 22:39

TEHRAN – Russia has welcomed American signals of readiness for talks with Iran to revive a 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and major world powers but says the United States needs to end “the meaningless policy of maximum pressure on Iran.”

“The US is sending signals of readiness for dialogue to restore the JCPOA. It is welcomed,” Russia’s Permanent Representative to the International Organizations in Vienna Mikhail Ulyanov said in a Russian-language tweet on Monday, using an acronym for the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, the official name of the nuclear accord, according to Press TV.

“It’s time to put an end to the meaningless policy of maximum pressure on Iran and ensure the normal functioning of the nuclear deal, the most important component of the nuclear non-proliferation regime,” he added.

Ulyanov’s comments came days after the U.S. mission to the Vienna-based international organizations said in a tweet that Washington “is ready to reengage in meaningful diplomacy to achieve a mutual return to compliance with” the Iran deal “in close coordination with our allies and partners.”

Earlier on Sunday, Ulyanov welcomed America’s readiness to reengage in diplomacy to revive the nuclear deal.

“The United States, in close coordination with our allies and partners, is ready to reengage in meaningful diplomacy to achieve a mutual return to compliance with the JCPOA, a key achievement of multilateral diplomacy,” the U.S. mission to the UN in Vienna said in a tweet on March 4.

In response, Ulyanov said Russia is ready to engage with the U.S. as well.
 
“Welcome, dear #US colleagues! #Russia is ready to engage with you and all other #JCPOA participants in order to restore full compliance with the nuclear deal as soon as possible,” the Russian diplomat tweeted on Sunday. 

“And this voluntary restrictions are temporary. According to JCPOA, they are aimed at restoration of confidence in exclusively peaceful nature of the Iranian nuclear program. But in real life-you are right- this aim can be misinterpreted,” he added. 

Ulyanov also commented on another tweet by the U.S. mission pertaining to Iran.

“The United States will not treat reliable verification in Iran as a bargaining chip. Rather, such continued verification is an enabler for the outcome so many of us now seek with Iran,” the U.S. mission had said. 

Commenting on this tweet, the Russian ambassador wrote, “Of course, reliable verification in Iran will not be a bargaining chip. It will be a part of restoration of full implementation of the JCPOA by all sides which must include sanctions lifting as well.”

Iran and the U.S. have been locked in a bitter dispute over who should make the first move toward reviving the JCPOA. Iran has said that the U.S. must lift sanctions before any new talks over the JCPOA can take place. But the U.S. keeps refusing to lift the sanctions. It insists that the path of diplomacy with Iran is still open but Iran should make the first move. 

“We’ve been clear that the path of diplomacy is open. The ball’s in Iran’s court to decide if it agrees,” U.S. Secretary of State Blinken has recently said.

On the other hand, Iran has said the U.S. removal of sanctions will lead to the Islamic Republic reversing the JCPOA measures it has taken following the U.S. withdrawal from the nuclear deal. 

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has said if Washington takes practical steps to remove the illegal sanctions it has unilaterally imposed on Tehran, the Islamic Republic will reciprocate the measure by reversing steps it has taken to reduce its commitment under the 2015 nuclear deal with the world powers.

Mohammad Javad Zarif made the remarks in a Sunday meeting with Ireland’s visiting Foreign Minister Simon Coveney in Tehran, during which the two sides discussed issues of concern to both countries at bilateral, regional and international levels, Press TV reported. 

Zarif, while reiterating Iran’s position on the nuclear agreement, said a “complete and effective removal of U.S. sanctions” will be met with Iran’s reversing of its move to walk away from its nuclear obligations under the deal.

The Irish foreign minister, who arrived in Tehran on Sunday for an official visit, also met with Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani earlier in the day.

During that meeting, Coveney said the JCPOA had a substantial influence on global peace, adding that his country would do all in its power to preserve the deal.

Rouhani said Iran was prepared to “immediately” reverse its nuclear counter-steps once the U.S. lifted the sanctions and “abandoned its policy of threat and pressure” against the Islamic Republic.

Washington and Tehran are yet to reach common ground on how to revive the nuclear deal. They have not even started direct talks. However, the Iranian foreign minister has said that he is preparing a “constructive concrete plan of action” on the JCPOA. 

“As Iran's FM & chief nuclear negotiator, I will shortly present our constructive concrete plan of action—through proper diplomatic channels,” he tweeted on March 5.

SM/PA

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