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Military tensions on the rise after US exit from Iran deal — Russian diplomat

The Russian Foreign Ministry believes that the United States will not revise its decision

MOSCOW, May 15. /TASS/. The danger that military tensions in the Middle East will mount after the US decision to withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal is growing, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov told the Valdai International Discussion Club.

"We don’t want the US pullout from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action to become a prelude for a further spike in military tensions in the Middle East, although the danger of this is evident," Ryabkov said.

"This danger after the US decision and what happened then is growing, according to our assessments," he noted. Major reasons for the US withdrawal from the JCPOA on the Iranian nuclear program are not linked to the agreement itself, but to Washington’s approach to Tehran’s policy in the Middle East, he said.

"We believe that this occurred mainly due to the reasons, which are not tied to the JCPOA, and frankly speaking, the US representatives are not hiding this," Ryabkov said. "I would like to point out that there are a lot of opportunities for resolving regional issues involving Iran," he said. "If the United States is interested in changes in [Iran’s] behavior, it should step up the diplomatic process," the senior Russian diplomat added.

Moscow considers it possible to preserve the Iran nuclear deal with sufficient political will of its participants and despite the US’ withdrawal. "We need to determine parameters for work within the JCPOA without the US," he noted. "We believe that it is possible both in theory and in practice. Much depends on the politicians’ will, chiefly in the European countries."

Maintaining the Iran nuclear deal will depend on the European’s ability to protect companies cooperating with Iran from US sanctions, he said.

According to the senior diplomat, maintaining the deal will depend on whether "the Europeans are ready to provide European economic entities with such a level of protection that would allow them to continue cooperating with Iran following the resumption of extraterritorial US sanctions."

At the same time, Ryabkov pointed out that it would be possible to ensure the protection of companies cooperating with Iran. "I think it is quite possible," he said in response to a question on the matter.

"It is most important that certain elements of Iran’s policy in the region, and also its missile program arouse resentment of the United States and its allies," Ryabkov said.

The Russian Foreign Ministry believes that the United States will not revise its decision to pull out of the Iranian nuclear deal, he said. 

"The Foreign Ministry believes the US will not change its mind. President Donald Trump will translate into life what he said on May 8," Ryabkov said.

Russia will comply with its liabilities within framework of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action regarding the Iranian nuclear program to reconfigure the Fordow enrichment facility. "Russia will comply with its obligations under the JCPOA to the full. The same concerns the reconfiguration of the Fordow enrichment facility - to the extent the other partakers will adhere to the agreement," he said.

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.

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