Russia to side with Iran on American JCPOA infractions

Financial Tribune- The Russian envoy to Iran said his country will come to Tehran’s defense in the event of US breaching the 2015 nuclear deal, noting that his government will work to convince the controversial US President Donald Trump to show commitment to the multi-party deal and not claim Iran is non-compliant.

Levan Dzhagaryan made the statement in a recent interview with ISNA. Hardening the US tone on Iran, Trump labeled the deal as “a disaster”, and by slapping anti-Iran sanctions in a row, he seems hell-bent on killing the pact that bars signatories from trying to limit business benefits Iran is entitled to. Despite officially certifying Iran as conforming with the nuclear deal last month, Trump on August 10 claimed Iran is not “living up to the spirit” of the “horrible agreement”.

His signing into law of a US Congress bill imposing a full-fledged package of sanctions over non-nuclear allegations, the first since the deal came into effect in January 2016, drew strong condemnations from Iranian officials who described it as violation of the nuclear pact.

Dzhagaryan said although the US opting out of the two-year deal seems a “remote possibility” for now, but its measures including the “unlawful” US Congress bill, which also targeted Russia and North Korea, has made Moscow wary about the deal’s prospects.

“We are concerned about statements made by Trump [regarding the deal]. The European countries also disapprove of the US approach and appear fairly anxious,” he said.

Moscow to Talk With US

The envoy said Russia will raise the need for the US to treat the deal with respect in talks with the US administration and hopes other signatories to the pact, particularly US allies—France, Germany and Britain, will do the same.

“From our point of view, Iran has been truly loyal to its JCPOA obligations and Americans should have no complaints,” he said, using the abbreviation for the deal’s formal name, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. President Hassan Rouhani warned on Tuesday Iran could abandon the deal within hours if the United States keeps on expanding sanctions.

“If they want to go back to that [failed] experience [of bullying], Iran will definitely in a short time–not in the scale of weeks or months, but in hours and days–take [its nuclear program] to a much more advanced level than the beginning of the nuclear talks [in 2013],” he said.

Rouhani’s words drew a reaction from Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov who criticized the US sanctions, but hoped Iran would not quit the nuclear agreement. Last Sunday, the Iranian Parliament voted to pass a bill in retaliation for new US sanctions to “counter America’s terrorist and adventurist actions” in the region.