Russia is prepared for holding a joint ministerial commission on fulfilling the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) on the Iranian nuclear program, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told reporters on Tuesday.
Lavrov earlier attended an informal meeting of foreign ministers of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) member-states in Slovakia's Vysoke Tatry. When asked whether the sides discussed there the situation around the Iranian nuclear deal, Lavrov noted that this was a matter for a joint commission of signatories, TASS reports.
"The joint commission recently gathered at the level of political directors and there is a proposal to convene it at the level of ministers," he said. "We will be ready for this, but if there is an understanding that there is the need to put forward particular agreements at this meeting. So far, no such agreements are on the horizon."
According to Russia’s top diplomat, the situation around the Iranian nuclear deal is a paradox. "The United States has withdrawn from this plan and is not fulfilling the resolution of the Security Council, which approved the JCPOA and also barred others from implementing this resolution, pointing fingers at Iran," he explained.
"There is another interesting moment: when the White House demands that Iran meet its commitments under the nuclear deal, when Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu calls on the European Union to punish Iran for its violations of the nuclear deal, logically, this means that both the US and Israel recognize the legitimacy of the JCPOA," Lavrov noted. "But they only recognize this in the current situation, when they can use this for stepping up pressure on Iran."
"This is a wrong approach. We want to search for solutions," Lavrov emphasized. "We are well aware who is behind whipping up confrontation, so far provocations against oil tankers have not been investigated. That’s why we see no other way out of this situation rather than to insist on returning to the basic principles of the JCPOA."
Lavrov also recalled that when the Iranian nuclear deal was drawn up, Russia insisted on writing down that dialogue is needed on regional issues. "If our US or other colleagues, including Israel, have questions for Iran regarding its missile program, all this can be discussed," Lavrov said. "What has been achieved through such a great effort and made a huge contribution to enhancing the regime of non-proliferation of nuclear weapons cannot be broken," he stressed.
Tensions over Iran’s nuclear program exacerbated after Washington unilaterally withdrew from the JCPOA on May 8, 2018 and slapped US economic sanctions on Iran’s oil exports. A year later, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said that Tehran was scaling back some of its commitments under the JCPOA and said other parties to the deal had to return to its implementation within two months. This deadline expired on July 7. According to Iran, other parties to the deal, namely the Europeans, are not fully committed to the agreement and therefore the deal in its current form was senseless.
The JCPOA was signed between Iran, five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council (Russia, the United Kingdom, China, the United States and France) and Germany in 2015. The deal limited Iran’s nuclear development in exchange for lifting the UN, US and EU sanctions.
Iran pledged not to enrich uranium above the level of 3.67% for 15 years and maintain enriched uranium stockpiles at the level not exceeding 300 kg, as well as not to build new heavy-water reactors, not to accumulate heavy water and not to develop nuclear explosive devices.
Iran's Atomic Energy Organization Spokesman Behrouz Kamalvandi said on Monday that Tehran started enriching uranium to beyond the 3.67% level allowed by the nuclear deal. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Board of Governors is due to hold a special meeting on July 10.