Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Thursday that Moscow supports the United States and its Western allies in seeking a nuclear deal with Iran and warned of the threat of an “irreversible” arms race. “.
“The JCPOA has no reasonable alternative,” he said in an interview with state media RIA. “We consider it irresponsible to speculate on the notorious ‘Plan B’ and other unacceptable options.”
Lavrov claimed that not reaching an agreement would lead “to an escalation, an arms race, an open conflict with irreversible consequences”.
Although Russia played a key role in trying to revive a version of the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), also known as the Iran nuclear deal, Moscow’s relationship with Tehran has soured. strengthened since it invaded Ukraine, making it an international pariah. among Western nations.
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Russia first threatened to block any progress in nuclear talks with Iran after the United States and Europe imposed harsh international sanctions on it following its deadly invasion.
But in mid-March, Moscow instead demanded guarantees from Washington that its trade with Iran would not be affected by sanctions so that a nuclear deal could be reached.
The White House said months-long negotiations with Iran would not act as an “escape” for Russia, although Lavrov said he had received written guarantees from the United States that he would meet its demands.
“We will of course not sanction Russia’s participation in nuclear projects that are part of resuming full implementation of the JCPOA. We cannot and we will not, and we have not provided any ‘assurances beyond that to Russia,’ State Department spokesman Ned Price said. said.
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But despite Russia’s apparent support for the nuclear deal and more than a year of talks, talks stalled again in September after Iran in late August threw a wrench in the talks by demanding additional changes to a draft proposal.
The demands prompted Western officials to cast a gloomy look at the prospect of ever striking a deal with Iran and a video that surfaced last week appeared to show President Biden in early November proclaiming the deal “is dead “.
A State Department spokesperson told Fox News Digital this week that “the Iranians killed the opportunity for a quick return to mutual compliance with the JCPOA in September when they walked away from an agreement which was on the table, approved by all”.
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“The JCPOA hasn’t been on the agenda for months. That’s not our focus,” the spokesperson added.
Lavrov squarely blamed the stalled negotiations on the United States and Europe and said their efforts “have slowed down sharply, shifting to a tipping point in the internal political situation in Iran.”
The US, NATO and Kyiv have accused Iran of supplying Russia with Shahed drones which have been used to strike civilian targets for months in Ukraine – although Moscow and Tehran say no such partnership type does not exist.
“The West has sparked a stir in the UN Security Council over alleged deliveries of Iranian ‘drones’ to Russia,” he continued.
Lavrov claimed Washington and its allies had no proof and echoed repeated denials that Iran was supplying Russia with drones to arm its deadly war in Ukraine.
The White House disputed these denials and in October, the National Security Council’s strategic communications coordinator, John Kirby, told reporters: “There is ample evidence of [Iranian drone] Russian use against military and civilian targets.
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“Yet Iran and Russia continue to lie about it,” he added. “They can lie to the world, but they certainly can’t hide the facts.”
Fox News’ Peter Aitken contributed to this report.