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Iran Press TV

Russia says no need for new topics in JCPOA, proposes synchronized US-Iran steps

Iran Press TV

Tuesday, 09 March 2021 5:13 PM

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has once again dismissed calls for an "updated" version of the 2015 Iran nuclear deal that would include subjects irrelevant to the Islamic Republic's nuclear work.

"Some say louder and louder that the JCPOA (the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action) should be recovered in an updated, modernized format," Lavrov said on Tuesday in Abu Dhabi during a joint press conference with UAE Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed al-Nahayan.

They intend to discuss Iran's missile program and the country's policy on its neighboring states and in the Middle East and North Africa on the whole, he added.

Lavrov, however, said Russia is confident that there is no need to "overload the goal of recovering the JCPOA in full with some other matters and concerns, albeit important ones."

He was apparently referring to calls by the European parties to the Iran deal for a "nuclear deal plus" that would also cover Iran's conventional missile program and regional role besides its nuclear program.

The future of the JCPOA has been in doubt since May 2018, when the US under ex-president Donald Trump pulled out of the agreement and imposed the "toughest ever" sanctions on Iran as part of his so-called "maximum pressure," which tried in vain to force Iran back to the negotiating table for talks on a "better deal."

Despite throwing verbal support behind the JCPOA, the European parties to the deal — France, Britain and Germany — ultimately succumbed to Washington's pressure and failed to fulfill their contractual commitments to Tehran, mainly by confronting the American sanctions.

That promoted Tehran to begin a set of retaliatory measures in several stages as part of its legal rights stipulated in Articles 26 and 36 of the JCPOA. The latest such measure was the halt in the implementation of the Additional Protocol to the NPT Safeguards Agreement, which was required by the parliament-adopted law.

Joe Biden, the current president of the United States, has repeatedly spoken of a willingness to rejoin the Iran deal, but, in practice, it has so far been sticking with Trump's futile pressure campaign. Washington says Tehran should return to full compliance with the deal before the US comes back.

Iran, however, says the US should first lift all the sanctions put in place under the Trump administration before the Islamic Republic returns to full compliance. Tehran believes that it was the White House which complicated the circumstances by the pullout.

Elsewhere in the presser, Lavrov proposed that Iran and the US develop "synchronized" steps to recover the JCPOA.

"In order to resolve this immediate challenge, we find it rather possible to develop synchronized, simultaneous, stage-by-stage steps that must be taken by the Iranians and the US. Because right now, if we stick to discussing who should be first to return to their obligations, the negotiations may last forever," the Russian foreign minister added.

He said Moscow welcomes Washington's intent to go back to the JCPOA, saying, "It hasn't been implemented yet, though, because the US is figuring out how to do it."

He added that a Russian-proposed conference on security in the Persian Gulf can become a platform for discussing the JCPOA's revival.

"We are confident that if the security conference in the area of the [Persian] Gulf proposed by us will be established based on the principles of respect for each other's interests, of course, based on equality and the need to reach mutually acceptable compromises, then we can discuss any issue during this conference, any concerns that the sides have towards each other," the foreign minister said.

Iran has, however, said there will be no negotiations between Iran and the United States on any matter before Washington removes all illegal sanctions it has unilaterally imposed on Tehran.

"The idea of a step-by-step plan for starting talks between Iran and the United States has been rejected at the highest levels of the Islamic Republic and there will be no contact between Iran and the US before sanctions are removed," an informed security official told Press TV on Sunday.

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