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US pressure drove Iran to reduce commitments on nuke deal, Kremlin says

The situation leads to further escalation, the Kremlin spokesman noted
Russian Presidential Spokesman Dmitry Peskov Valery Sharifulin/TASS
Russian Presidential Spokesman Dmitry Peskov
© Valery Sharifulin/TASS

SOCHI, May 15. /TASS/. Moscow regrets rising tensions surrounding the Iran nuclear deal and believes that the United States’ actions are the reason, Russian Presidential Spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters.

"Unfortunately, we are witnessing rising tensions and Iran’s decisions [to reduce its commitments to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) - TASS]," Peskov said, adding that "regrettably, the situation leads to further escalation."

"We clearly understand that Iran makes such decisions in response to the pressure that runs counter to the spirit and letter of the JCPOA," the Kremlin spokesman pointed out. "It is the United States that provoked Iran to take such actions," he added. "Unfortunately, concerns remain," Peskov said, noting that US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo had not given any assurances on the issue at Tuesday’s meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

On May 15, Iran officially ended some of its commitments under the JCPOA. The Iranian Students News Agency (ISNA) reported, citing a source in the country’s nuclear energy agency, that the step had been taken in accordance with a decision of the Supreme National Security Council. The source added that if other participants failed to ensure the deal’s implementation within 60 days, Tehran might resume its uranium-enrichment activities and halt the redesign of the Arak heavy water reactor.

On May 8, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said that Tehran had decided to reduce its commitments to the JCPOA. "The EU/E3+2 will face Iran's further actions if they can not fulfill their obligations within the next 60 days and secure Iran's interests," he wrote on Twitter.

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

On May 8, 2018, US President Donald Trump announced Washington’s withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal. He said that old sanctions on Iran would be restored and new ones would be introduced in case Tehran attempted to pursue its nuclear ambitions. The first batch of new US sanctions on Iran took effect on August 7 and the second one became effective on November 5. In the wake of Trump’s decision, the leaders of Great Britain, Germany and France called on other participants in the deal to continue fulfilling it. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said that Moscow would seek to maintain the agreement.