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Russia FM urges swift, irreversible lifting of all 'illegal' US sanctions against Iran

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 (file photo)

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov says the United States must swiftly and irreversibly remove all "illegal" sanctions it has imposed on Iran.

Lavrov made the remarks while addressing the participants at the Moscow Conference on Nonproliferation in a video message on Monday.

"Washington has not given up on the policy of 'maximum pressure' in relation to the nuclear deal with Iran," the Russian foreign minister said, referring to former US President Donald Trump's policy vis-a-vis Iran after he unilaterally withdrew from the 2015 nuclear accord, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

The top Russian diplomat added that Moscow strongly urges the American side to "lift all illegal sanctions against Iran as soon as possible and irreversibly and ensure the strict implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 2231" which endorsed the JCPOA.

He emphasized that the lifting of illegal sanctions would pave the way for Tehran's reciprocal "defrosting" of its voluntary commitments under the nuclear deal.

The Iran nuclear deal was signed in 2015 between Tehran and the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Russia and China under the presidency of Barack Obama.

However, Obama’s successor, Donald Trump, abandoned the JCPOA in May 2018 and slapped cruel sanctions on Iran. The incumbent US President Joe Biden had vowed during his election campaign to resume talks to revive the deal and remove the harsh US sanctions. Two years into his presidency, Biden has failed to keep his promise and is now threatening to take military action.   

Iran maintains that it is necessary for the other side to offer some guarantees that it will remain committed to any agreement that is reached.

The talks to salvage the agreement kicked off in the Austrian capital city of Vienna in April last year, with the intention of examining Washington’s seriousness in rejoining the deal and removing anti-Iran sanctions.

The talks remain stalled since August, as Washington continued to insist on its hard-nosed position of not removing all sanctions that were slapped on the Islamic Republic by the previous US administration.

A Russian diplomatic source told Sputnik news agency on Sunday that the Biden's administration is looking for an “excuse” to derail talks on the JCPOA revival.

“Statements are being made overseas every now and then that make one doubt the current US administration’s commitment to its promises to bring the US back to the JCPOA,” the unnamed source said.

Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Nasser Kan’ani once again on Monday reiterated the Islamic Republic’s commitment to the JCPOA revival talks, but made it clear that Tehran is not willing to negotiate under pressure and threats.

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