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Russia, US continue dialogue on Iran and North Korea, diplomat says

October 20, 14:16 UTC+3

However, the diplomat noted that the situation is not that favorable in bilateral relations

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© Anton Novoderezhkin/TASS

MOSCOW, October 20. /TASS/. Russia and the US support contacts on strategic safety issues and the Iranian and North Korean nuclear programs, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov said at the Moscow Non-Proliferation Conference that is being held on October 19-21.

"We have no difficulties in supporting contacts on strategic stability and other related issues with US Under Secretary of State Thomas Shannon or at any other level," he said. "We are constantly working in various formats, in particular discussing the North Korean issues and the future of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action on the Iranian nuclear program."

However, the diplomat said, the situation is not that favorable in bilateral relations. "There is still the atmosphere of the so-called ‘bilateral annoyance;’ there is no progress in this area at all," Ryabkov noted. "Moreover, constant unfounded accusations against Russia are aggravating the situation.

Revising deal on Iranian nuclear program is unrealistic

Moscow thinks it is unrealistic to revise the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) on the Iranian nuclear program, according to Ryabkov.

The diplomat voiced concerns over the new US approach towards Iran. "They suggest revising the deal, which had been drawn up at utmost strain, and is a very fragile and a meticulously elaborated package of agreements and the balance of interests."

"That’s why now trying to change all this and to add something and remove somewhere, and doing this in regard to the central and key elements of the current deal, is unrealistic, in my opinion," Ryabkov said.

The goal is to ensure the efficient and full-fledged implementation of the deal, which serves the interests of security of all parties, as well as regional and international security and stability, he stressed.

Russia will "work towards preserving the consolidation of the JCPOA and its full implementation by all parties," Ryabkov said. "We will act so ourselves."

Last week, Trump unveiled Washington’s new strategy against Tehran, saying that the United States will seek to offset Iran’s destabilizing influence. Besides, the US included the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, an elite branch of Iran’s Armed Forces, into the list of organizations supporting terrorism.

The deal on Iran’s nuclear program was reached between Iran and six international mediators (the United Kingdom, Germany, China, Russia, the United States, and France) on July 14, 2015. On January 16, 2016, the parties to the deal announced beginning of its implementation. Under the deal, Iran undertakes to curb its nuclear activities and place them under total control of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in exchange of lifting the sanctions imposed previously by the United Nations Security Council, the European Union and the United States over its nuclear program.

No plans to copyright North Korean settlement

Moscow welcomes any initiatives aimed at finding a solution to the North Korea issue and does not seek to copyright the settlement process, Ryabkov said.

"As for North Korea, the less attempts are made to raise the stakes, make threats and take advantage of the situation to exert pressure, the less the chance that the situation will get out of control," Ryabkov pointed out. "We are confident that there is an alternative way," he added.

"Some criticize us, saying that the Russian-Chinese road map contains unrealistic ideas," he noted. "But these critics do not suggest any alternatives. Our initiatives are particularly aimed at inviting everybody to talks," the Russian deputy foreign minister said.

"We welcome any addition to the collection of initiatives and proposals, and are ready to welcome any creative contribution," he said. "We do not seek to copyright the settlement process, as we are driven only by the wish to help undo this knot," the senior Russian diplomat added.

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