Iran, Russia debunk Western allegations over JCPOA

March 15, 2022 - 22:4

TEHRAN – Iran and Russia set the record straight on the real obstacle to reviving the 2015 Iran nuclear deal. They said they support the talks in Vienna.

Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian landed in Moscow on Tuesday morning in a highly charged atmosphere. In Russia, he met with his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov and discussed a variety of issues ranging from the Vienna talks to the war in Yemen.

The discussions about the 2015 nuclear deal, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), stood out among all other issues due to the repeated allegations by the West that Russia has endangered the conclusion of the Vienna talks by presenting new demands. 

Nearly three weeks after the start of the Russia-Ukraine war, Russia said it needed guarantees that sanctions being imposed on Moscow by the West over the war in Ukraine won’t impede Russia’s cooperation with Iran in all fields.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on March 5, “We need guarantees that sanctions [over Ukraine] will not affect in any way the regime of trade, economic and investment ties set out in the JCPOA on Iran’s nuclear program. We asked our American colleagues (because they are running the whole show here) to give us guarantees in writing, at least at the level of the Secretary of State, that the current process launched by the U.S. will not impinge in any way on our free full-scale trade, economic, investment and military-technical cooperation with the Islamic Republic of Iran.”

Despite the Western allegations, Iran and Russia said the latter’s demand for guarantees wasn’t the obstacle to reviving the JCPOA. Iran said it was the U.S.’s new demands that hampered the conclusion of the talks.

Ali Shamkhani, the secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council, said the lack of U.S. political decision regarding the Vienna talks has hampered the conclusion of a deal. 

“US approach to Iran's principled demands, coupled with its unreasonable offers and unjustified pressure to hastily reach an agreement, show that US isn't interested in a strong deal that would satisfy both parties. Absent US political decision, the talks get knottier by the hour,” he tweeted. 

Shamkhani’s latest tweet came after the chief European coordinator of the talks, Josep Borrell, announced a pause in the talks due to “external factors.”

In his visit to Moscow, Amir Abdollahian reiterated what Iran has been saying over the past few weeks: That it is the U.S., not Russia, that is hampering the conclusion of the talks. 

The Iranian foreign minister said Russia won’t be an obstacle to resuscitating the JCPOA. 

“Russia will be no obstacle to reaching an agreement and there will be no connection between the developments in Ukraine and the Vienna talks,” Amir Abdollahian said in Moscow. 

He further said that if Iran reaches an agreement with the U.S. on certain issues that are part of Iran’s red lines Russia will support such an agreement. 

He added, “We hope that the American side will stop being extravagant in the near future and that we will be able to announce a good and lasting agreement in the near future with the support of all parties involved in the Vienna talks.”

On the other side, the Russian foreign minister said the Kremlin has received “written guarantees” from the U.S. that sanctions imposed on Russia over Ukraine won’t impede Moscow’s cooperation with Iran within the framework of the JCPOA. 

Responding to a question on whether Russian requests have derailed the Vienna talks, Lavrov said, “We have received a written guarantee and they will include this in the text of the [agreement] of reviving the JCPOA. In this regard, a reliable protection for all projects and activities, companies and specialists that were within the framework of JCPOA, including cooperation regarding the main project of the Bushehr power plant, is mentioned.”

He noted, “I also heard that the Americans are trying every day to accuse us of blocking the deal. This is a lie, the agreement has not yet been approved by some capitals, and Moscow is not one of them.”

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