Iran and Russia have become allies in several areas of the region, most recently Syria. In light of their partnership in that country, it is no surprise that Iran is being backed by Russia in regards the JCPOA agreement.
In a meeting between Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister for Legal and International Affairs Abbas Araqchi and Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov in Tehran, the two sides discussed technical cooperation on civilian nuclear technology within the framework of the JCPOA, the 2015 nuclear agreement between Iran and the P5+1 group of countries.
Araqchi took this opportunity to confirm that Iran was in full compliance with the JCPOA, while reiterating the importance of all sides completely fulfilling their commitments. The Russian diplomat noted that his country believes there is no replacement for the agreement. Ryabkov also spoke out against what he says is the unilateral approach of the U.S. to various international issues.
“The continuation of the U.S.’s irresponsible approach to the JCPOA, particularly during the era of the country’s new ruling administration, which reflects the extremist and unilateralist stance of the United States of America on all international issues, is considered as disregard for the international community’s will and demand,” said Araqchi.
Russia is clearly determined to play a role in keeping the JCPOA in place. Ryabkov noted that Iran and Russia have a common stance on many international and regional developments. He also acknowledged that the monitoring meeting agenda would include the failures on the part of the U.S. to meet its commitments under the JCPOA.
Under the agreement, there are limits placed on Iran’s nuclear activities in exchange for the removal of all nuclear-based bans, among other incentives for the regime. The JCPOA was also endorsed by the UN Security Council with a resolution that effectively turned it into international law. While the previous U.S. administration was focused on making the deal, the Trump administration has been skeptical of the agreement.
During his presidential campaign, Trump didn’t mince words. He called the agreement a “disaster” and vowed to scrap it. While his administration has fundamentally kept to the agreement, there is also a review in place to determine if the sanction relief within the JCPOA is in the best interests of the U.S. Clearly, the change in administrations has impacted how the JCPOA will function.
With Russia backing Iran, this next meeting regarding the implementation of the deal will be interesting, as the U.S. attempts to defend its actions under the new administration.
This is also a chance for Iran to play the victim on the international stage once again. The international community, however, needs to look at how Iran has behaved in the past and determine if this regime is truly one that can be trusted, no matter who is backing it up.