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Iran Press TV

Russia says ready to help revive Iran deal in its original form

Iran Press TV

Friday, 05 March 2021 2:18 PM

Russia's foreign minister says a window of opportunity for saving a 2015 multilateral nuclear deal signed between Iran and major world powers remains open, expressing hope that all sides will return to the full implementation of the agreement in its original form.

"We hope that it will become possible to improve the situation in the near future and to return the JCPOA [the nuclear deal – officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action] implementation process to the initially coordinated framework," Sergei Lavrov said in an interview with the Russkaya Mysl magazine published in the UK.

He added that the revival of the JCPOA is possible only if all parties to the agreement fully implement their commitments.

"Tehran has repeatedly spoken in favor of its willingness to completely unfreeze all of the JCPOA's provisions that it had suspended as soon as the forfeited balance of interests is restored," the top Russian diplomat said, referring to Washington's sanctions and unilateral withdrawal from the agreement and Iran's subsequent countermeasures in the face of US hostility.

He emphasized that Moscow is "closely" cooperating with all the JCPOA participants to secure their full compliance with the deal and said, "For example, we also maintain regular contact with European partners for elaborating possible decisions to rectify the current situation."

Former US President Donald Trump withdrew the US from the JCPOA on May 8, 2018 and imposed what he called the "maximum pressure" policy on Tehran. In response, Iran gradually reduced its nuclear obligations under the accord starting on May 8, 2019, but declared that its measures will be reversed as soon as the US honors its JCPOA commitments.

As part of its commitment reduction process, Iran on February 23 stopped the voluntary implementation of the Additional Protocol to the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) Safeguards Agreement that allowed the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to carry out short-notice inspections of the country's nuclear facilities.

The measure was taken as part of a law, passed by the Iranian Parliament last December, requiring the government to suspend more of its commitments under the nuclear deal, should the US fail to lift its sanctions by February 21.

However, in a goodwill gesture in support of diplomacy, Tehran reached a deal with the IAEA, under which it would continue to use cameras to record information at its nuclear sites for three months, but it would retain the information exclusively.

If the US sanctions are lifted completely within that period, Iran will provide the footage information to the IAEA, otherwise it will be deleted forever.

Elsewhere in his interview, Lavrov emphasized that not everything depends on Russia or the European parties to the JCPOA.

"The position of [new US] President Joe Biden's administration on the nuclear deal is an essential aspect. In our opinion, Washington's steps sending a message to Tehran showing serious US intentions to rejoin the JCPOA could help resolve the situation concerning Iran and its nuclear program," the Russian foreign minister said.

When asked whether it was possible to restore the Iran nuclear deal in cooperation with European countries, he expressed Russia's readiness to "help reach the relevant agreements in every way."

The Biden administration has indicated its willingness to rejoin the JCPOA, but conditioned the move on Tehran's resumption of the commitments it has suspended under the accord in response to the US withdrawal and the other parties' failure to meet their end of the bargain.

Last month, Washington retreated from some of its anti-Iran measures as it lifted travel restrictions on Iranian envoys accredited to the United Nations and reversed a claim by the Trump administration that it had triggered the so-called snapback provision in the JCPOA and re-imposed all UN sanctions against the Islamic Republic.

But Tehran says the US should unconditionally remove all the sanctions imposed under Trump in a verifiable manner.

Addressing the 14th summit of the Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO) through videoconference on Thursday, Iran's President Hassan Rouhani said the United States has violated the JCPOA and it is Washington that should take practical steps to rejoin the deal and lift all sanctions it has re-imposed on Tehran.

"The US, as the one who violated the deal, shall lift all sanctions and take practical steps in order to be able to return to the JCPOA," Rouhani said.

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