On Tuesday, Russia joined forces with its ally Iran in rejecting Western efforts to uphold restrictions on Iran, even though the 2015 agreement aimed at restraining Tehran’s nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief has collapsed.
After a meeting between respective deputy foreign ministers in Tehran, Russia’s foreign ministry said Moscow and Tehran were unanimous in believing that the failure to implement the deal stemmed from the “erroneous policy of ‘maximum pressure’ pursued by the United States and those who think similarly.”
Then-US president Donald Trump quit the deal known as the JCPOA in 2018, leaving economic sanctions in place, and Iran’s relations with the West have been deteriorating ever since, as it has accelerated its nuclear program.
But Russia, which signed the deal alongside the US, China, Britain, France, Germany and the European Union, has been deepening ties with Iran since its invasion of Ukraine.
The war, which Russia calls a “special military operation,” has driven its own relations with the West to their lowest level in decades.
Sources told Reuters in June that European diplomats had informed Iran they planned to join the US in retaining sanctions on Iran’s ballistic missile program that are set to expire in October under the nuclear deal.
They gave three reasons: Russia’s use of Iranian drones against Ukraine; the possibility that Iran might transfer ballistic missiles to Russia; and depriving Iran of the benefits of the nuclear deal, which it violated after the US withdrew.
Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov met Iranian counterparts Ali Bagheri Kani and Reza Najafi.
Russia’s foreign ministry said the meeting had emphasized “the unacceptability of any attempts on the part of the West to impose some new schemes and approaches to solving problems related to the JCPOA, which imply damage to legitimate and mutually beneficial Russian-Iranian cooperation in various fields”.
It said there was still “no reasonable alternative” to implementing the JCPOA, as approved by the UN Security Council.