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US escalates tension around nuclear deal to change power in Iran — Russian diplomat

The spokeswoman believes there is still every possibility for normal talks between Iran and US

MOSCOW, July 11. /TASS/. The US policy aimed at changing power in Iran is the prime cause of tension around the Iranian nuclear deal, Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on Thursday.

"It is clear to all that Washington’s policy of exerting maximum pressure on Tehran, rooted in anti-Iranian sentiments and the desire to achieve a change of power in the sovereign state, is the prime cause of the current tension around the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA)," the Russian diplomat stressed.

"Ironically, the extraordinary session of the IAEA [International Atomic Energy Agency] on July 10 was convened at the US request. It was Washington that announced in May 2018 its withdrawal from the JCPOA and unilaterally gave up all its corresponding commitments," the spokeswoman pointed out.

"We hear about how the United States continues demanding that it is Iran that must unswervingly comply with all the terms of the nuclear deal, which the US side has been torpedoing for more than a year, impeding all the other countries to carry it through," the diplomat noted.

According to the Russian diplomat, the US position "has both failed to receive any support from the IAEA and has seen lots of criticism."

Meanwhile, possibilities for normal talks between Teheran and Washington do exist, Maria Zakharova noted.

"There are all the possibilities for a normal dialogue [with Iran] only if Washington stops fanning tensions," she said. "We remember perfectly well how the United States and Iran once conducted a meticulous dialogue, a mutually respectful one by the way, when the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) was elaborated. Naturally, each of them advocated its own interests but still took into account the position of the other. This experience not only can but should be applied in settling other major problems."

Iran nuclear deal

In 2015, Iran and six major powers (five member states of the United Nations Security Council — Russia, the United States, France, the United Kingdom, China and Germany) agreed on the final Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, which particularly stipulated the removal of sanctions imposed on Tehran over its nuclear program.

The deal limited Tehran’s nuclear development activities in exchange for lifting the UN sanctions and unilateral US and EU restrictions. Iran undertook not to enrich uranium above 3.67% within 15 years and keep the stocks of enriched uranium at the level of no more 300 kilograms. Iran also assumed commitments not to build additional heavy water reactors, not to accumulate heavy water and not to engage in developing nuclear charges.

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 batch became effective on November 5. In contrast, Great Britain, Germany and France called on other participants in the deal to continue its execution. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov pledged that Moscow would seek to maintain the agreement.

On May 8, 2019, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani announced that Tehran was reducing its commitments under the JCPOA. He pointed out that the other signatories, primarily EU countries, had failed to fulfill their economic obligations under the deal, making it irrelevant. Rouhani said they had two months to return to compliance. The deadline expired on July 7.