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Iran’s withdrawal from NPT to harm global security — senior Russian diplomat

Tehran earlier said it saw the withdrawal from the Non-Proliferation Treaty as one of options to respond to US sanctions
Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov Mikhail Tereshchenko/TASS
Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov
© Mikhail Tereshchenko/TASS

PRAGUE, June 12. /TASS/. If Iran carries out its threat to withdraw from the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT), that would deal a heavy blow to the global security system, Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov told reporters following the consultations with the US State Department's Under Secretary for Arms Control and International Security Andrea Thompson on Wednesday.

"We understand the reasons that have made Iran announce the intention to scale down its obligations within the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, but we have made and make little secret of the fact that we would not consider the implementation of the idea of Iran’s withdrawal from the Non-Proliferation Treaty right. That would deal a very heavy blow not only to the non-proliferation mechanism, but generally to the global, not to speak about regional, security as well," he emphasized.

Tehran said earlier that it is mulling the withdrawal from the Non-Proliferation Treaty as one of the options to respond to the US’ tightening of sanctions against the Islamic Republic.

The NPT is a multilateral international document drafted by the UN committee on disarmament with the aim of preventing the expansion of the list of countries possessing nuclear weapons and easing the risk of a nuclear conflict. The treaty was approved on June 12, 1968 at the 22nd UN General Assembly session. The treaty took effect on March 5, 1970 after 40 countries had ratified it. Currently, 190 countries are parties to the NPT.

The Russian diplomat also said Moscow’s approach to the threat of the Iranian nuclear deal collapsing was serious.

"We cannot but take seriously the prospect of collapsing of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action on the Iranian nuclear program in a worst-case scenario," Ryabkov said.

When commenting on the visit of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to Iran, Ryabkov noted that Russia welcomes any efforts that may help find a reasonable balance of interests around the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. "If Japanese colleague are able to help promote mutual understanding during the ongoing visit, including between Tehran and Washington, since Moscow is concerned about the mounting tensions in the Persian Gulf region," the diplomat noted.

According to Russia's deputy foreign minister, European member-states of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) for Iran’s nuclear program (Britain, Germany, France) are unconvincing in showing their political will to continue keeping terms with Iran. 

"Unfortunately, European JCPOA member-states are not showing an appropriate political will and dynamics in terms of creating conditions for normal economic cooperation with Iran, including the field of export of traditional Iranian goods, energy resources in the first place," he said.

Ryabkov believes that the situation around the deal may become even more complicated unless there is any progress regarding that 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. On May 8, 2019, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani announced suspension of Tehran’s commitments to the JCPOA.