Russia to boost ties with Iran if US pulls out of JCPOA: Official

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Russia to boost ties with Iran if US pulls out of JCPOA: Official

A senior Russian official says Moscow will reinforce its relations with Iran in different sectors should the US withdraw from the 2015 nuclear agreement as a deadline looms for Washington to announce whether or not it will keep its side of the bargain.

Vladimir Yermakov, head of the Russian Foreign Ministry's Department for Non-Proliferation and Arms Control, said on Friday that US exit from the multilateral deal did not necessarily mean its end, stressing that Moscow would continue to uphold its obligations under the accord, if it was able to and if it was in its interests.

He also noted that there was no reason for Iran to pull out of the nuclear pact as it was fully committed to its obligations.

“It might even be easier for us on the economic front, because we won’t have any limit on economic cooperation with Iran. We would develop bilateral relations in all areas – energy, transport, high tech, medicine,” he said.

The Russian official further said the US should suffer the consequences of its possible withdrawal from the nuclear accord signed between Tehran and six world powers in 2015. 

“If the United States breaks an international agreement backed by UN Security Council resolutions, it will be the United States that should suffer the consequences. Neither Iran nor China nor Russia nor the European states should lose out,” he said.

US President Donald Trump has given the European signatories of the deal until May 12 to fix what he has claimed “flaws” in the agreement or he would refuse to waive anti-Iran sanctions, which were lifted under the accord.

Iran insists there is no way it will renegotiate the nuclear pact, which is officially called the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) and endorsed by UN Security Council Resolution 2231.

Elsewhere in his remarks, Yermakov pointed out that preserving the JCPOA was in the best interests of international security, defending the Islamic Republic's right to develop peaceful nuclear energy.

The official, who was attending a nuclear non-proliferation conference in the Swiss city of Geneva, also said that the vast majority of UN member states at the event had backed a joint Russian-Chinese declaration supporting the JCPOA.

The US, however, had put pressure on its European NATO allies to persuade them not to support the joint declaration, he added.

Additionally on Friday, French President Emmanuel Macron warned that a possible US withdrawal from Iran's nuclear deal could lead to a war.

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