Proposals for adding irrelevant topics to Iran deal ‘wrong’: Russia

Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov has rejected calls for the inclusion of irrelevant subjects in the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran, saying any proposal similar to “JCPOA+” — put forward by Germany — is “wrong.”

In a post on its Twitter account on Monday, the Russian Mission in Vienna quoted Ryabkov as saying that Moscow was opposed to expanding the Comprehensive Joint Action Plan (JCPAO).

“Russian DFM S.#Ryabkov: Gradual steps & reciprocity, proposed by Russian FM #Lavrov back in the days, were key principles of #JCPOA elaboration. Adding smth extra to the existing #NuclearDeal now will make things worse. So we think putting fwd ideas like ‘JCPOA+’ is wrong & inconvenient,” the tweet read.

He was referring to Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov’s interview with Iranian news agencies earlier this month, in which he emphasized that the JCPOA should be neither reviewed nor renegotiated.

“There is a consensus that the present situation in the JCPOA is due to the US unilateral withdrawal from the deal and imposition of the sanctions,” Lavrov said. “Russia believes that the US stance on the JCPOA is unconstructive.”

Ryabkov further said there are initiatives already put forward by Moscow, Beijing and Tehran to resolve issues unrelated to the Iran deal.

“Russian DFM S.#Ryabkov: There are separate formats for #JCPOA-unrelated issues: security concept for the Persian Gulf by #Russia; multilateral dialogue platform by #China; HOPE Initiative by #Iran; dialogue btw @eu_eeas, Iran & others. But the key task — to restore JCPOA as it is,” the tweet read.

Echoing the US, the European signatories to the JCPOA — France, Germany and the UK — have been calling for an expanded nuclear deal with Iran that would also cover the country’s national missile program and its regional role.

Earlier this month, Germany’s Foreign Minister Heiko Maas spoke of what he called a “nuclear deal plus” with Iran.

The nuclear deal was signed in 2015 between Iran, Germany and five permanent members of the UN Security Council and was later ratified in the form of UNSC Resolution 2231.

However, in May 2018, President Donald Trump terminated the US participation in the JCPOA and re-imposed the anti-Iran sanctions lifted by the deal.

A year later, Iran moved to scale back its JCPOA commitments as per its rights enshrined in the deal, only after the remaining European signatories kept dragging their feet on the tasks undertaken as part of the accord.

Iran has expressed its readiness to reverse the suspension of its obligations only if the US returns to the accord and lifts all sanctions without any preconditions or if the European co-signatories manage to protect business ties with Iran against Washington’s sanctions as part of their contractual obligations.