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US should show ‘political will’, rejoin Iran nuclear deal: Russian diplomat

Russia's deputy foreign minister has called on the United States to show political will and indicate its readiness to rejoin a landmark nuclear deal with Iran from which the administration of former US president unilaterally withdrew in 2018.

Sergei Ryabkov told reporters on Monday that Russia and China have discussed an initiative by Beijing that aims to arrange for a multilateral meeting with the final goal of convincing the US to rejoin the nuclear deal with Iran, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), Russia's TASS news agency reported.

"We discussed it with both Chinese and American colleagues. We are open to taking part in this event, even though it is clear that it is crucial to at least set out indicative understanding of what this meeting can result in for it to have meaningful substance," he said.

The senior Russian diplomat noted that such a meeting is especially relevant as February 21 is approaching, the day on which a new law passed by the Iranian Parliament requires the country’s administration to stop the voluntary implementation of the Additional Protocol to the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) unless Washington lifts unilateral sanctions it re-imposed on Tehran after leaving the accord.

"We are calling on the US to show political will and send a signal to Iran and other members of the international community showing readiness to rejoin the JCPOA,” Ryabkov said.

“It would be important to start by lifting all sanctions, which formed the backbone of the so-called policy of maximum pressure towards Iran under the [former US President Donald] Trump administration," Ryabkov stressed.

Ryabkov said that removal of anti-Iran sanctions will stop further deterioration of the situation.

Earlier on Monday, Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh said that Tehran would end its voluntary implementation of the Additional Protocol to the NPT should the other parties to the JCPOA fail to honor their commitments by the deadline of February 21.

“This measure means an end to inspections beyond the Safeguards Agreement, but does not mean an end to all inspections. In fact, Iran is a member of the Safeguards Agreement and the NPT, but the implementation of the Additional Protocol will be halted,” Khatibzadeh said.

The JCPOA was unilaterally ditched by Trump in May 2018, in pursuit of what he called the “maximum pressure” policy against the Islamic Republic through unilateral sanctions. Iran has denounced the policy as an act of “economic terrorism.”

The US withdrawal from the deal was met with worldwide criticism, and was followed, a year later, by Iran’s gradual reduction of its nuclear commitments. However, Tehran has repeatedly proclaimed that it will return to its nuclear obligations as soon as its interests under the JCPOA are met.

Iranian lawmakers overwhelmingly voted in favor of the Strategic Action Plan to Counter Sanctions in December, which tasked the Iranian administration with suspending more commitments under the JCPOA.

The law, among other things, tasked the Iranian administration to stop allowing inspections beyond the Safeguards Agreement, including the voluntary implementation of the Additional Protocol, if the other parties to the JCPOA failed to deliver on their commitments, normalize Iran’s banking relations and remove obstacles to Iran’s oil export.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on Thursday urged the new US administration to take a new path in dealing with Iran and move to make up for the crimes committed by the former US president against the Iranian nation, saying the world has no doubt that the pressure policy against Iran has failed.

“We have not seen [any signs of] new deeds and goodwill on the part of the new [US] administration yet. Its rhetoric may have changed, but action is what matters; therefore, we should see what it will do in practice to make up for [Trump’s] crimes,” Rouhani said.

Source: Press TV


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