Russia says any changes to Iran nuclear deal unacceptable

Press TV – Russia’s Foreign Ministry says Moscow will continue to honor its commitments under the landmark 2015 nuclear deal Iran made with major world powers for as long as other countries abide by their obligations, the Interfax news agency reports.

Russia’s Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on Friday that her country would deem any changes to the deal, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), to be unacceptable.

US President Donald Trump, a long-time critic of the JCPOA, faces a May 12 deadline to decide whether to pull out of the agreement. Trump has repeatedly warned that he might ultimately terminate the agreement reached under his predecessor Barack Obama.

He said on January 12 that he wanted America’s European allies to use the 120-day period before sanctions relief again came up for renewal to agree to tougher measures and new conditions; otherwise Washington would pull out of the deal.

Under the multilateral nuclear agreement, Iran undertook to put limits on its nuclear program in exchange for the removal of nuclear-related sanctions imposed against Tehran.

Other parties to the agreement have all criticized the US president’s hostile views, saying the deal is sound and has proven to be functioning.

Russia has repeatedly announced that it wants the deal left intact.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Thursday warned of the consequences of a possible US withdrawal from the nuclear deal, saying such a move would deprive the world of one of the key non-proliferation regimes.

“If the US, as President Donald Trump has repeatedly stated, announces withdrawal from this agreement, then of course all of us, the international community, will lose one of the most important tools contributing to ensuring the non-proliferation regime for weapons of mass destruction,” Lavrov said.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying also told reporters at a regular news conference on Wednesday that all sides should continue to uphold the Iran nuclear agreement.

“What is pressing now is that all relevant parties should bear in mind the large picture and long-term interest, and faithfully implement and uphold” the agreement, Hua said.

The leaders of Britain, France and Germany on Sunday reaffirmed their support for the landmark nuclear deal with Iran, noting that it is the best way to keep limitations on Iran’s nuclear program in place.

According to a statement by the office of Britain’s Prime Minister Theresa May, French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel made the remark in separate phone calls with the British premier ahead of the May 12 deadline.