Russian Envoy Urges US to Uphold Nuclear Deal

Vasily NebenzyaVasily Nebenzya

Russia plans to convey a message to the United States asking Washington to stay in the 2015 nuclear deal reached by Iran and major powers. Russia's Ambassador to the United Nations Vasily Nebenzya said on Friday Moscow would deliver the message in a meeting of the parties to the deal next week, Press TV reported.

Iran's partners under the deal are Russia, China, Germany, France, the United Kingdom and the United States. All the parties to the deal are determined to sustain it, except Washington, which seems to be looking for a pretext to make a unilateral withdrawal.

The foreign ministers of Iran and the six powers are to discuss the implementation of the deal on the sidelines of the 72nd session of the UN General Assembly in New York next week.

Nebenzya said Moscow's message to Washington during the meeting would be: "Stay in the JCPOA. That's right. That's very important, indeed."

JCPOA is the official abbreviation for the deal, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.

"That is not only our message, but the rest of the participants and those that are outside are trying to send this message across," he said.

JCPOA was reached in July 2015 and took effect in January 2016. Under the deal, Iran accepted some limits to its nuclear program in exchange for the termination of nuclear-related sanctions.

The International Atomic Energy Agency, which is tasked with monitoring the technical aspect of the deal's implementation, has repeatedly verified full Iranian compliance with the agreement.

  US Looking for Pretexts  

However, the administration of US President Donald Trump, which took over in January 2017, one year after JCPOA came into force, has been opposed to the accord and is believed to be actively seeking a pretext to pull out of it.

Last month, US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley traveled to Vienna to press the IAEA to request access to Iran's military sites, a move that Washington hoped would trigger the nuclear agency's insistence and Iranian refusal, which would undermine the deal. The IAEA withstood that pressure.

The Trump administration on Thursday extended some sanctions relief for Iran under the deal. It has twice verified Iranian compliance in notifications to the US Congress under US law. But the administration has signaled that a third verification—due in mid-October—would not be forthcoming.

"You'll see what I'm going to be doing very shortly in October. But I will say this: The Iran deal is one of the worst deals I've ever seen," Trump again parroted his allegation on Thursday without a shred of evidence.

Thus, if Congress does not renew waivers of nuclear-related sanctions against Iran because the White House has refrained from verifying Iranian compliance, a major non-performance of the deal will have occurred on the part of the US. European Union foreign policy chief, Federica Mogherini, has made it clear that the party to judge Iranian compliance is not the US administration but the IAEA and a Joint Commission that she chairs.


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