Russia FM slams unilateral sanctions on Iran, urges ‘more active’ US role to revive JCPOA

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

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has criticized the unilateral sanctions imposed against Iran after the United States’ withdrawal from a 2015 nuclear agreement, urging Washington to take a “more active” approach to help resume stalled talks aimed at reviving the deal.

"It seems evident they should be more active" in "resolving all issues related" to the accord, Lavrov told reporters at the United Nations in New York on Saturday, referring to the nuclear deal, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

"Iran is not doing anything that would be prohibited," he added.

The top Russian diplomat expressed hope that Iran and the remaining parties to the nuclear agreement – Britain, France, Germany, Russia and China -- would resume the negotiations in the Austrian capital of Vienna "as soon as possible," as Tehran wished.

Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian on Friday slammed US lack of commitment and Europe’s inaction regarding the JCPOA, saying the Islamic Republic is ready for result-oriented talks on the agreement’s revival that would secure people’s rights and interests.

“Despite the US lack of commitment to the JCPOA, which has continued since the administration of [former US president Barack] Obama, coupled with Europe’s inaction, the Islamic Republic of Iran remains committed to diplomacy based on its principles and is ready for result-oriented talks that serve the interests and [protects] rights of the Iranian people,” the top Iranian diplomat said.

The US, under former president Donald Trump, unilaterally withdrew from the deal and reinstated crippling sanctions on the Islamic Republic, although the country had been fully compliant with the deal.

In early April, Iran and the remaining parties to the JCPOA began to hold talks in Vienna after the Joe Biden administration voiced willingness to rejoin the nuclear agreement and remove the draconian sanctions his predecessor had slapped on the Islamic Republic. 

Since the beginning of the Vienna talks, Tehran has argued that the US—as the first party that violated the JCPOA—needs to take the first step by returning to full compliance with the agreement. Tehran also says it will resume all of its nuclear commitments under the deal only after the US removes all the sanctions in practice.

The negotiations were paused soon after the victory of Ebrahim Raeisi in Iran’s June 18 presidential election.

Addressing the 76th Session of the UN General Assembly on Tuesday, Biden announced his willingness to rejoin the JCPOA and resolve the issue with Iran over its peaceful nuclear program.

The US president said Washington was "working" with China, France, Russia, Britain and Germany to "engage Iran diplomatically and to seek a return to" the JCPOA.

"We're prepared to return to full compliance if Iran does the same," he said.

The United States and the Europeans have been holding intensive talks throughout the week on the JCPOA revival on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly.

Iran says it needs to see concrete measures by the US, stressing Washington should abandon policy of paying lip service to its commitments.  

 


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