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Russia will work towards ensuring US sanctions on Iran won’t abolish nuclear deal — Lavrov

On May 8, Trump announced Washington’s withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal

MOSCOW, May 10. /TASS/. Moscow will seek to make sure that US sanctions on Iran neither destroy the nuclear deal nor affect Tehran’s partners, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said following talks with his German counterpart Heiko Maas on Thursday.

While commenting on the illegitimacy of unilateral sanctions, Lavrov said that "there is a United Nations Security Council’s decision on that matter." "We cannot influence this process. Since Washington has made a decision, it will be done. President Trump has made it clear," he added.

We will seek to make sure that it does not destroy the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) for the Iranian nuclear program. This is our common goal," he said. "Besides, we will seek to ensure that there is no extraterritorial influence on Iran’s partners," Lavrov added.

"The World Trade Organization has rules on this matter, so some non-judicial agreements may be made. As far as I understand, this is what our European partners want to reach with the Americans, they want to bargain something. I don’t know if there could be success," the Russian top diplomat noted.

According to Lavrov, it concerns not only Great Britain, Germany and France but all the participants in the agreements. "It would be incorrect for one, two or three members of the group to seek exceptions for themselves and ignore the fact that the deal also involves other countries," the Russian top diplomat said. "Apart from the six international mediators (Russia, Great Britain, China, the United States, France and Germany), most other countries also trade with Iran. It would be nice to give them a thought," Lavrov concluded.

Russia appreciates the Iranian leadership’s balanced response to US President Donald Trump’s decision to quit the treaty.

"We appreciate the Iranian leadership’s balanced response to that decision (US decision to quit the JCPOA), because all likely implications of Washington’s step are to be evaluated. Any haste here would be counterproductive," Lavrov said.

"Russia, Germany, France, Britain, China and Iran are to make such evaluations. We are already in this process and will present our opinion soon," he added.

Lavrov pointed out that the US administration’s decision to quit the JCPOA was very worrisome. Washington, he said, "commits a major violation of the UN Security Council’s Resolution 2231, which endorsed that plan and made it part of international law."

The decision to remove sanctions in accordance with the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) for the Iranian nuclear program is not subject to review, Lavrov said.

"As for unilateral US sanctions, we can do nothing in that regard. However, it cannot refer to sanctions imposed by the United Nations Security Council. That removal is not subject to review," Lavrov said.

"If Washington once again tries to make these restrictions exterritorial, it will significantly affect the situation in the region and relations between the United States and Europe, as well as between the United States and Russia. We will evaluate it from the standpoint of the World Trade Organization’s principles," Lavrov added.

The Russian top diplomat pointed out that one of the nuclear deal’s objectives was to facilitate the strengthening of the non-proliferation regime. "These achievements are likely to face very significant damage," he noted.

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) for the Iranian nuclear program, which particularly stipulates the removal of sanctions imposed on Tehran over its nuclear program.

US President Donald Trump has many times criticized the deal accusing Iran of violating it. He particularly said that it was "one of the most incompetently drawn deals" that he had ever seen.

On May 8, Trump announced Washington’s withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal, which imposed restrictions on Tehran’s nuclear activities in return for the removal of the United Nations Security Council’s sanctions and unilateral US sanctions. According to Trump, the JCPOA left the door open for Iran to circumvent restrictions and develop a nuclear bomb. The US president said that old sanctions would be restored and new ones would be introduced in case Tehran attempted to pursue its nuclear ambitions. At the same time, Trump called for making a new agreement.