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US sought total confrontation with Iran by leaving JCPOA: Russia

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov (Photo by AFP)

The Russian foreign minister says the United States chose to pull out of the 2015 nuclear agreement with an eye to “a total confrontation with Iran.”

Addressing the annual Primakov Readings conference in Moscow on Wednesday, Sergei Lavrov enumerated some of the reasons behind the aggravating problem of weapons of mass destruction in today’s world, criticizing US actions as a contributing factor.

“I remember the apocalyptic predictions of the 1980s about a ‘nuclear winter.’ Fortunately, it did not come to pass, although the ‘Arab Spring’ came, which, through a series of tragic events, also exacerbated the problem of weapons of mass destruction,” he said.

“I am referring to the withdrawal of the United States from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) on the Iranian nuclear program with the view of organizing a total confrontation with Iran, and many staged situations involving the alleged use of chemical weapons by the Syrian government aimed at changing the regime in Damascus,” he added.

On May 8, US President Donald Trump announced Washington’s pullout from the nuclear deal, vowing to reinstate nuclear sanctions on Iran and impose “the highest level” of economic bans on the Islamic Republic.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo later threatened Tehran with the “strongest sanctions in history” if it did not comply with a list of steep demands.

Iran is holding negotiations with other signatories to the JCPOA, seeking assurances that the country’s interests would still be protected under the accord without the US.

Foreign forces should leave southern Syria

Elsewhere in his remarks, the top Russian diplomat said that the withdrawal of all foreign forces from Syria’s southern parts should happen “as soon as possible.”

He also noted that agreements have been reached between Russia, the US and Jordan on a safe zone in southern Syria, bordering Jordan and the occupied Palestinian territories.

“They (the agreements) stipulate that this de-escalation zone should consolidate stability, while all non-Syrian forces must be withdrawn from this area. And I think that this should happen as soon as possible,” Lavrov said.

Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov announced on Tuesday that Moscow, Washington and Amman had agreed to meet on a de-escalation zone in southern Syria.

On Wednesday, he said the tripartite meeting will be held in the Jordanian capital.

“The meeting will take place in Amman,” he said, adding, “We are ready to hold such a meeting at any level acceptable to our partners.”

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