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Russian lawmaker calls Iran’s suspension of some JCPOA commitments ‘diplomatic demarche’

However, the risk of the deal’s breakdown does exist, the lawmaker added

MOSCOW, May 8. /TASS/. Iran’s official notification of suspending some of its commitments under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) can be regarded as a diplomatic demarche, not as a pullout from the nuclear deal, Chairman of the Russian Federation Council’s (upper house of parliament) Foreign Affairs Committee Konstantin Kosachev said on Wednesday.

However, the risk of the deal’s breakdown does exist, he added.

"The notification Iran made to the ambassadors of Germany, the UK, China and Russia about suspending some of its commitments under the so-called nuclear deal is not a withdrawal from the deal but rather a diplomatic demarche. As far as I understand, non-compliance with the commitments on restricting enriched uranium and heavy water reserves does not directly lead to significant consequences, but the promise to resume the upgrade of the nuclear reactor on heavy water in Arak, which can be used for the development of the weapons-grade plutonium, may already lead to the disruption of the deal," Kosachev wrote on Facebook.

In his opinion, Tehran’s decision to suspend a number of obligations is "the direct result of Washington’s withdrawal from the JCPOA signed in 2015".

The senator recalled that today marks exactly one year, since US President Donald Trump announced "this extremely dangerous step for peace and security, and the current Iranian demarche is timed to coincide with the anniversary of that decision."

"Since then, rather than easing its position the US, on the contrary, toughened it up. The sanctions were tightened, and Washington labeled the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps as a terrorist group. In response, Tehran branded the United States a state sponsor of terrorism, and the US military in the Middle East - the terrorists," Kosachev stated.

The senator stressed that although he does not welcome the current decision by Tehran, since everyone would like to "definitely save the deal on Iran’s nuclear program", he finds it quite understandable.

"I would very much like to hope that everything will be within the bounds of diplomacy, and will not lead to Iran’s actual exit from the agreement. Yet, to what extent Washington’s EU allies are interested in this, since they primarily are the ones the demarche is mainly addressed to- remains to be seen. Europe has a chance to show how far its sovereign foreign policy and influence in the world goes," Kosachev concluded.

US pullout from Iranian nuke deal and Tehran’s response

On May 8, 2018, US President Donald Trump announced Washington’s withdrawal from the JCPOA - a deal that was inked in 2015 and restricted Tehran’s nuclear developments in exchange for the removal of the sanctions introduced by the UN Security Council and the unilateral restrictive measures launched by the US and the EU. In November last year, the US’ sanctions against Iran’s oil sector were restored.

On April 22, Trump decided not to prolong the waiver on the oil sanctions against Iran, which were renewed in November 2018. Then Washington imposed a ban on importing Iranian oil, but allowed major importers to continue purchases for six months.

On Wednesday, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said that Tehran had decided to partially suspend the execution of some of its obligations under the JCPOA, on Wednesday.

Rouhani said Iran stopped implementing its commitments under two items of the JCPOA. They concern the suspension of sales of enriched uranium and heavy water that Iran has to other countries for 60 days, under Sections 26 and 36 of the deal. Iran expects the other members of the deal to take measures to preserve it and fulfill their obligations within 60 days.

The Iranian president said that the JCPOA would not stop functioning and that Iran wouldn’t pull out of the deal.