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Russian envoy slams Trump’s remarks on Iran deal as tactic to blackmail EU

According to the Russian envoy, Trump’s recent statements are an "attempt to blackmail the European participants in the deal"

BRUSSELS, January 24./ TASS/. US President Donald Trump’s statements on the Iran nuclear deal are aimed at blackmailing the European Union (EU), Russia’s Permanent Representative to the EU Vladimir Chizhov told TASS on Wednesday on the sidelines of the Holocaust Remembrance Day event at the European Parliament.

"It is difficult to consider Trump’s recent statements as anything other than an attempt to blackmail the European participants in the deal," the Russian diplomat said. "They have been holding intensive consultations with each other and Tehran, Iran’s foreign minister has been here," he added.

At the same time, Chizhov stressed that Moscow did not see any reason for amending the JCPOA. "The IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency) is the one to verify the implementation of the document," he said, noting that "they [IAEA officials] have said many times that Iran has been abiding by the terms of the deal." The Russian envoy also said that Moscow had been maintaining dialogue with all the participants of the deal.

Iran deal details

The JCPOA, signed in Vienna in the summer of 2015, involves Iran, Russia, the United States, China, the United Kingdom, France and Germany. It stipulates that Tehran should produce no weapons-grade plutonium and reduce its stockpiles of enriched uranium in return for the removal of international sanctions.

After Iran implemented its obligations, verified by IAEA inspections, then-US President Barack Obama lifted sanctions imposed on Tehran over its attempts to develop nuclear weapons. At the same time, other restrictions, including those concerning ballistic missiles, remained in place.

On October 13, 2017, incumbent US President Donald Trump announced a new strategy towards Iran, stipulating that Washington would seek to amend the JCPOA in order to curb Iran’s "destabilizing influence." Trump refused to certify the agreement on January 13.

The White House occupant recently said that Washington would withdraw from the JCPOA unless "the deal’s disastrous flaws" were fixed. Trump noted that he was "waiving the application of certain nuclear sanctions, but only in order to secure our European allies’ agreement to fix the terrible flaws of the Iran nuclear deal."

EU’s stance

The European participants in the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) for Iran’s nuclear program do not seem to be willing to change their position concerning the need to preserve the document in its current form, the Russian diplomat stated.

"There are no clear signs that the European members of the six-party group (Russia, China, France, Germany the United Kingdom and the United States) have changed their position seeking to support the US," the Russian envoy said in response to the relevant question.