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Iranian nuclear deal hanging by a thread — senior diplomat

Changing the format amounts to changing the entire agreement, Russia's deputy foreign minister believes
Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov Anton Novoderezhkin/TASS
Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov
© Anton Novoderezhkin/TASS

MOSCOW, April 13. /TASS/. The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) on the Iranian nuclear program needs to be maintained in its initial form, but the question of its future existence has not been resolved yet, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov told reporters on Tuesday.

"If we start to change the format, this means that we need to change the entire agreement. Fortunately, participants of the consultations [on the JCPOA in Vienna] concur that the main goal is to recover the JCPOA in the form that it was signed in," the diplomat said. "What will happen next is a separate matter."

According to him, Tehran, which has been under severe pressure from Washington in recent years, is skeptical about making any changes to the agreement. "We respect this stance of our Iranian friends. We think that we need to restore what we have, because the JCPOA is still hanging by a thread, and only then can we discuss alternative formats, other approaches and other members," Ryabkov stressed.

For its part, Russia is ready to accommodate the US and Iran on the recovery of the nuclear deal during the talks, Ryabkov assured. "We are ready to be of service if the colleagues ask us for something. For example, to send a signal or to get involved in some political or intellectual resolution of issues. We will do that, we are in on it already," he pointed out. "Long before the start of the talks, we offered our colleagues to consider an entire program of work on how to recover full adherence to the deal. However, good favors are coordinated by the European foreign policy service, and we play by the rules in Vienna, so to say. But if our colleagues express an interest, we are ready for consultations in the bilateral format and any other formats."

The diplomat noted that contacts on the Iranian nuclear deal are held regularly via different channels. "Essentially, we hold online conferences every day, and the next talks of this kind will be held tomorrow between the capitals at the same time as working groups established in Vienna resume their work, hopefully. So work is ongoing via many channels," Ryabkov said.

According to the deputy foreign minister, the working trip of Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov to Iran should facilitate progress in the talks on the nuclear deal. "Today’s visit of Minister Lavrov to Tehran is a key event, a pivotal moment in all our diplomatic efforts in the interest of restoring full adherence to the JCPOA and promoting the concept of collective security in the Persian Gulf, where things are hectic and where we need to work for a positive result instead of whipping up tensions, like some are trying to do," he concluded.