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‘Iran dismisses Daily Telegraph report on secret offer to Russia’

An informed source with Iran’s Foreign Ministry has dismissed a report by the UK newspaper Daily Telegraph on a secret offer Iran has given Russia to help Moscow evade Western sanctions in exchange for a new deal with the P4+1 group of countries.

“The claim by the Daily Telegraph that Iran and Russia have reached a secret agreement on the JCPOA [the 2015 Iran deal, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action] and [Western] sanctions [on Russia] is merely an instance of news fabrication,” the source said on Friday.

The report is literally in sync with scenarios planned by Western security circles and aims to enhance psychological warfare, the source said.

“The position of the Islamic Republic of Iran was clearly declared in front of cameras by Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian during his visit to Moscow.”

On March 23, the Daily Telegraph quoted security sources as saying that Iran had offered to help Russia evade the impact of Western sanctions in return for getting Moscow’s backing for a new deal.

The Vienna talks began almost a year ago with the aim of bringing the White House into full compliance with the JCPOA. The United States left the deal in 2018 under former President Donald Trump and re-imposed the sanctions that the deal had lifted.

The administration of US President Joe Biden has rebuked Trump’s withdrawal from the accord and insisted on re-entering the deal, while dragging the talks out by failing to provide Iran with guarantees that Washington will not exit the JCPOA again.

Throughout the talks, Iran has pressed the US for guarantees as well as the establishment of a verification mechanism on the removal of sanctions.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has said his country, unlike the United States, is not seeking “selfish interests” by the restoration of the JCPOA.

“We never betray our friends in politics. Venezuela is our friend, and Iran is a state that is very close to us. Secondly, we do not pursue selfish interests, unlike the Americans.”

The eighth round of talks between Iran and the five remaining parties to the JCPOA are under way as the United States and its allies have been piling sanctions on Russia since February 24, when Russian President Vladimir Putin announced a “special military operation” aimed at “demilitarization” of the Donetsk and Lugansk regions in eastern Ukraine. In 2014, the two regions declared themselves new republics, collectively known as Donbass, refusing to recognize Ukraine’s Western-backed government.

Announcing the operation, Putin said the mission was aimed at “defending people who for eight years are suffering persecution and genocide by the Kiev regime.”

Russia says it will halt the military operation instantly if Kiev meets Moscow’s list of conditions. Moscow has specified some of the demands as protection of its interests and nationals in Ukraine and prevention of the country’s accession to NATO.