MOSCOW: Iran’s foreign minister said on a visit to Moscow on Monday he was seeking “assurances” from the backers of the country’s nuclear deal after the United States pulled out.
Russia is trying to keep the landmark 2015 accord alive in the wake of US President Donald Trump’s decision, pushing Moscow into rare cooperation with Europe.
“The final aim of these negotiations is to seek assurances that the interests of the Iranian nation will be defended,” Mohammad Javad Zarif said at the start of a meeting with his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov. After the talks, Zarif praised the “excellent cooperation” between Moscow and Tehran and said Lavrov had promised him to “defend and keep the agreement”.
Zarif later said he was seeking “solutions in order for other countries, in particular those remaining in the agreement, to have relations with Iran without hindrance”, in comments reported by the Iranian ISNA news agency.
Lavrov, for his part, said Russia and Europe had a duty to “jointly defend their legal interests” in terms of the deal.
Zarif’s diplomatic tour took him to Beijing at the weekend and will see him visit Brussels later in the week, as the international backers of the agreement scramble to save it.
On Monday he also sent a letter to the United Nations in which he accused the US of showing a “complete disregard for international law” in pulling out of the deal.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has already spoken with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan about efforts to save the accord, after voicing his “deep concern” over Trump’s decision.
And on Monday Putin met Yukiya Amano, the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, telling him that Russia was “ready to continue to uphold the Iran nuclear deal despite the withdrawal of the United States”.
Published in Dawn, May 15th, 2018