Russia, Iran to boost ties despite US sanctions threat

Moscow, Sep 24 (efe-epa).- Russia and Iran will expand cooperation – including in the military sphere – to preserve the 2015 accord on limiting Tehran’s nuclear activities in the face of threats by Washington to enforce unilateral US sanctions against the Islamic Republic, the two nations’ foreign ministers said here Thursday.

“We agreed to continue the implementation of major joint investment projects, first and foremost in the sphere of energy, including nuclear power, as well as transportation and industrial cooperation,” Russia’s Sergei Lavrov said during a joint press conference with Iranian counterpart Mohammad Javad Zarif.

The Russian foreign minister went on to note that the UN prohibition on sales of armament to Iran expires Oct. 18 and made it clear that Moscow is ready to resume military trade with Tehran.

“The fact that the United States threatened to introduce sanctions on all those who will contradict the US interpretation of the current situation once again confirms that Washington wants to behave like a bull in a china shop,” Lavrov said.

In 2015, the US, Iran, Russia, China, France, the United Kingdom, Germany and the European Union signed the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), under which Tehran agreed to strict limits on its nuclear energy program in exchange for an easing of US, EU and UN sanctions.

President Donald Trump pulled the US out of the JCPOA in 2018, inaugurating a campaign of “maximum pressure” that aims openly at effecting regime change in Iran.

After failing last month to persuade the UN Security Council to renew an arms embargo against Iran, the Trump administration invoked the “snapback” clause in the JCPOA, which gives Washington the right to re-impose sanctions unilaterally.

None of the other signatories accepts the US assertion of a right to make decisions about an agreement Washington has abandoned.

“We stressed that Moscow and Tehran, like the entire international community, categorically reject US ambitions to impose some kind of indefinite arms embargo,” Lavrov said Thursday.

“Russia will in no way base its policy on these aggressive illegal demands, which have no legal effect,” he said.

Iran, according to Russia’s top diplomat, maintains a “constructive interaction” with the International Atomic Energy Agency to preserve the JCPOA.

Zarif said that Washington’s resort to extraterritorial measures was a sign of failure, as it followed the rejection by “the entire international community” of the US attempt to reinstate UN sanctions against Iran.

He described the refusal of Russia and Iran to bow to US pressure as “an example of resistance for the world.” EFE fss/dr

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