Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov says the United States’ actions against Iran constitute a blatant attempt to pressure the international community into overlooking a United Nations Security Council resolution in line with Washington’s agenda of “strangling” the Islamic Republic.
“‘Lack of ability to reach an agreement’ is probably the nicest thing that one can say [about US actions against Iran], because there is clearly an attempt to force the whole world to not comply with a UN Security Council resolution in order to achieve the goal of strangling a single country,” Lavrov said at the Primakov Readings forum in Moscow on Tuesday.
He was referring to Resolution 2231, which endorsed a multilateral nuclear deal struck in 2015 between Tehran and six world countries — the US, France, Britain, Germany, Russia and China.
Washington left the accord last May and has since been working to dissuade its European allies from honoring their obligations under the international agreement, called the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).
Lavrov added that some European partners want Tehran to “make a mistake and declare certain steps” which would be in violation of the JCPOA.
“Then someone in the West would breathe easily and shun the responsibility with a clean conscience. This will be very regrettable,” he added.
The top Russian diplomat expressed hope that Europe would remain committed to the Security Council’s resolutions.
Bowing to Washington’s pressure, Europe has only been throwing verbal support behind the deal, stopping short of taking practical measures to compensate for Washington’s withdrawal.
Unsatisfied with Europe’s insufficient economic steps towards saving the JCPOA, Iran suspended last month the implementation of some of its commitments within the framework of its legal rights outlined in the deal, setting a deadline for its European partners to end their inaction.
Tehran has said it will further reduce its commitments if Europe fails again to ensure Iran’s dividends from the JCPOA.
In a meeting with German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas in Tehran on Monday, Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani said European countries must resist the United States’ economic terrorism against the Iranian nation and live up to their obligations as per the nuclear deal.
Lavrov further pointed to Europe’s efforts to keep the nuclear accord alive and said, “As far as the prospects of preserving the JCPOA are concerned, here a lot depends on the Europeans. I will be waiting with interest for a briefing on the outcome of German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas’s trip to Tehran.”
In Tehran, Maas said “we want to continue our commitments but we can’t pull off miracles.”
Elsewhere in his address to the international forum, Lavrov said that Russia favored a non-aggression pact between Iran and the Arab states based on an initiative of Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif.
“This, of course, would be effective,” he added.
Speaking to reporters on Tuesday, the Russian foreign minister warned the international community against unreasonable attempts aimed at isolating Iran and pushing the country into a military confrontation.
“We want calm to return to this region. It is necessary to normalize relations between the Persian Gulf states, and also outside players should avoid fomenting differences,” Lavrov said.
He expressed hope that the Arab countries of the Persian Gulf would understand that “calls to bring the policy of isolating Iran to a military scenario are risky.”
He noted that Moscow has tirelessly called for the establishment of a system of security and trust in the region.
“We are suggesting particular ideas, which will enable the Arab states of the Persian Gulf and Iran to establish contacts between each other, alleviate mutual concerns and ensure transparency on issues of military construction and military drills,” Lavrov said.
Washington has, over the past weeks, added a military dimension to its pressure campaign against Iran by sending military reinforcements to the Middle East, a move that has sparked global fears that the US might be preparing for a war on Iran.
Washington’s Arab allies in the Persian Gulf region have supported President Donald Trump’s bellicose Iran policy, including his decision to withdraw the US from the Iran deal and build up Washington’s military presence in the region.
Moscow has censured the “destructive” activities of the US and its Arab allies against Iran, saying such an approach would only exacerbate the problems.