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Iran Press TV

Russia hopes for JCPOA compromise before Iran's February 21 deadline

Iran Press TV

Thursday, 11 February 2021 7:14 PM

Russia hopes for the US to abandon its illegal stance of staying out of the 2015 Iran nuclear deal and retaining its sanctions against the Islamic Republic in order not to prompt Tehran to further reduce its obligations under the agreement.

"There isn't a lot of time, considering that on February 21, in accordance with the law adopted by Iran, the country will take the next step toward reducing its obligations, which were accepted voluntarily. It would be good to find some compromise that would help avoid further escalation before that deadline," Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov told a press conference, Russia's Sputnik news agency reported.

The priority is to reverse the US withdrawal from the nuclear accord as well as Washington's sanctions against Iran, he said.

The administration of former US president Donald Trump left the deal, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), in 2018. It did so in breach of the deal's multilateral nature and the fact that the accord has been ratified by the United Nations Security Council in the form of one of its resolutions. Washington also returned the economic sanctions that the deal had lifted.

Iran began a number of nuclear countermeasures a year after the US withdrawal to prompt Washington to resume its JCPOA obligations and its Western allies in the deal -- the UK, France, and Germany -- to stop abiding by the American sanctions and renew their trade activities with Iran.

The most recent bout of Iran's countermeasures came after the Iranian Parliament passed a law, ordering the country's administration to resume uranium enrichment at the 20-percent purity level.

Under the law, Iran will also stop abiding by the Additional Protocol to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), which enables more intrusive inspections of the country's nuclear facilities, as of February 21 -- the date that the senior Russian official was referring to.

Ryabkov said such a wholesale compromise on the part of the US "is probably impossible to do all at once." He, however, asserted, "but it would be wrong to delay. We are openly telling this to Americans."

He, meanwhile, suggested that Washington and Tehran act simultaneously to avoid arguments over who should act first.

"We understand the logic of their actions and the reasons prompting Iran. Despite this, it is necessary to show restraint and a responsible approach," Ryabkov told Russia's RIA Novosti news agency.

The Islamic Republic has asserted that it would only retrace its retaliatory nuclear steps once the US lifted the sanctions in a way that would be verifiable by Tehran.

Meanwhile, US-friendly states and sources have been trying to press Iran to take the first step in complete disregard for the fact that it was Washington that began violating the JCPOA first, and to such an extreme extent at that.

France urges Iran not to take measures that 'worsen nuclear situation'

Also on Thursday, France's Foreign Ministry urged Iran not to take any further action in reprisal for Washington and its allies' contraventions of the JCPOA.

"To preserve the political space to find a negotiated solution, we call on Iran not to take any new measures that would further worsen the nuclear situation," Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Agnes von der Muhll said, repeating claims by the European signatories to the deal that describe Iran's countermeasures as "violations."

This came after the International Atomic Energy Agency said on Wednesday that it had verified the production of uranium metal at a plant in Iran.

Iran has rejected statements and reports accusing it of directly producing the material.

The Atomic Energy Organization of Iran released a statement last month, reminding that Iran had begun work on uranium metal-based fuel for the Tehran Research Reactor rather than resorting to direct production of uranium metal.

"Uranium metal is an intermediate product in the process of advanced fuel production," the organization noted, adding that the Islamic Republic had already fully notified the IAEA of the fuel production process and provided it with the relevant questionnaire.

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