Russia would welcome US-Iran talks, says top diplomat

TASS – Moscow would welcome talks between Washington and Tehran but will not impose its mediation services on them, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said following a meeting with his Japanese counterpart Taro Kono on Friday.

“We don’t impose our services on anyone. We will welcome the launch of talks [between the United States and Iran] like we welcome the negotiation process between the US and North Korea, and we also believe it is important to pave the way for talks on the Venezuela issue,” Lavrov told reporters in response to a question. “However, we are confident that talks cannot begin if one of the parties says: “First, we will strangle you economically and then you will beg us for an agreement.” This is not a pattern of conduct we consider appropriate in relation to foreign policy,” Lavrov added.

According to the Russian top diplomat, Moscow calls for mutually respectful dialogue without preconditions and ultimatums. “The Iranian leadership has responded to the United States’ steps, pointing out that there will be no dialogue as long as the US continues to use blackmail and strangling sanctions in breach of the UN Security Council’s resolution,” Lavrov pointed out.

“I would like to reiterate that we will support any kind of contacts the parties may launch based on mutual respect,” the Russian foreign minister concluded.

Iran nuclear deal issue

In 2015, Iran and six major powers (five member states of the United Nations Security Council – Russia, the United States, France, the United Kingdom and China – and Germany) agreed on the final Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), which particularly stipulated the removal of sanctions imposed on Tehran over its nuclear program.

On May 8, Trump announced Washington’s withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal. He said that old sanctions on Iran would be restored and new ones would be introduced in case Tehran attempted to pursue its nuclear ambitions.

In the wake of Trump’s decision, the leaders of Great Britain, Germany and France called on other participants in the deal to continue fulfilling it. Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said that Tehran would not abandon the JCPOA and would continue to comply with its obligations. Russia’s Foreign Ministry said Moscow was disappointed by Washington’s decision, calling Trump’s move a cover for settling political scores with Iran.