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Lavrov: Russia to Advocate Removal of Sanctions on Iran in Next Round of Vienna Talks

Lavrov: Russia to Advocate Removal of Sanctions on Iran in Next Round of Vienna Talks
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By Staff, Agencies

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov says Moscow will advocate the lifting of sanctions on Iran and the full implementation of a nuclear deal – known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action [JCPOA] – between Iran and a number of other countries in the upcoming talks slated to start in the Austrian capital Vienna at the end of this month.

The JCPOA was signed between Iran and the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council [UNSC] – namely Russia, the United Kingdom, China, the United States and France – plus Germany in 2015.

Former American president Donald Trump, however, unilaterally withdrew the US from the JCPOA in May 2018 and reimposed the anti-Iran sanctions that the historic deal had lifted. He also unleashed additional sanctions on Iran under other pretexts not related to the nuclear case as part of his so-called “maximum pressure” campaign, which practically deprived the country of all of the deal’s economic benefits.

Following a year of strategic patience, Iran resorted to its legal rights stipulated in Article 26 of the JCPOA, which grants a party the right to suspend its contractual commitments in case of non-compliance by other signatories, and let go of some of the restrictions imposed on its nuclear energy program.

Iran and the remaining parties to the JCPOA have since April held six rounds of talks in Vienna, which began after the US administration of Joe Biden voiced willingness to rejoin the nuclear agreement, although Washington has shown an overriding propensity for maintaining the sanctions as a tool of pressure.

Envoys from Iran and the P4+1 are expected to hold the seventh round of discussions in Vienna on November 29.

“We will advocate that the agreements that were concluded within the framework of this document in 2015 be resumed in full. Of course, this implies the return of the United States to fulfill its obligations, including the lifting of all sanctions introduced in the context of the JCPOA,” Lavrov said on Friday.

The Russian foreign minister also said that the JCPOA had been among the topics discussed in Paris in the “2+2” format between Russian and French defense and foreign ministers. “Here, we have prospects for more constructive cooperation,” Lavrov added.

In recent weeks, there has been mounting pressure on Tehran to return to the negotiating table. The administration of Ebrahim Raisi has announced on several occasions that it will resume the talks only to remove all of the illegal US sanctions and that it will not take part in negotiations for the sake of negotiations.

Apart from breaching the JCPOA, the US's departure and its re-introduction of the sanctions are in violation of UNSC Resolution 2231 that endorses the nuclear agreement.