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US manipulating UN to punish Iran — Russian top diplomat

The foreign minister pointed out that the latest report of UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on the developments around Resolution 2231 far exceeds the powers of the UN Secretariat

MOSCOW, June 16. /TASS/. Washington has no right to manipulate the UN Security Council and the UN Secretariat, trying to punish Tehran for its stance on the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) on the Iranian nuclear program, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told reporters Tuesday following his talks with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif.

"If this plan [JCPOA] does not fit the logic of the current US administration, if it says it is a bad deal, it is Washington’s position. However, Washington cannot have any right to punish Iran by abusing the UN Security Council authority and, in fact, manipulating the UNSC and the UN Secretariat to a known degree," the minister noted.

According to Lavrov, the US is trying to ban other parties to the JCPOA from honoring their obligations to Iran and simultaneously use illegitimate initiatives to punish Tehran. "I believe that this is an attempt through unfit means, it does not have prospects from the international law viewpoint. Meanwhile, we use all capabilities provided by this international law for justice to prevail," he added.

The minister underlined that the JCPOA and UNSC Resolution 2231 which endorsed the deal are an inseparable item. "When our American colleagues back in 2018 officially adopted presidential orders and instructions to terminate their participation in the nuclear deal, they lost all possibilities and rights coming from implementing the JCPOA in good faith by all parties of this agreement and set out in Resolution 2231," the top Russian diplomat explained.

Lavrov pointed out that the latest report of UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on the developments around Resolution 2231 far exceeds the powers of the UN Secretariat. Lavrov noted that it also raises many questions that the report "was immediately leaked to the western press" the moment it was published, just like the recent report of Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Rafael Grossi.

"I believe that these actions are deliberately aimed at fabricating pretexts for illegitimate attacks on Iran. I believe that those who are behind these actions, encourage and initiate them, act in an unscrupulous and dishonest way," the minister concluded.

The JCPOA was signed between Iran, the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council (Russia, the United Kingdom, China, the United States and France) and Germany in 2015. Under the deal, Iran undertook to curb its nuclear activities and place them under total control of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in exchange for abandonment of the sanctions imposed previously by the United Nations Security Council, the European Union and the United States over its nuclear program. Iran pledged not to enrich uranium above the level of 3.67% for 15 years and maintain enriched uranium stockpiles at the level not exceeding 300 kg, as well as not to build new heavy-water reactors, not to accumulate heavy water and not to develop nuclear explosive devices.

On July 20, 2015, the UNSC unanimously adopted Resolution 2231 to support the JCPOA. In particular, the resolution stipulates that the arms embargo against Tehran is extended by 5 years. On May 8, 2018, the US pulled out of the deal and reinstated economic sanctions against Tehran, including restrictions on its oil sector.