“Using unilateral sanctions… is illegitimate and undermines the collective nature of international efforts. Everyone is witnessing with alarm today the newer and newer restrictions by the US against Iran,” Lavrov told the 72nd UN General Assembly in New York on Thursday.
The Russian foreign minister added that Washington’s sanctions “threaten” the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), which came into effect in January 2016 following marathon talks between Iran and the P5+1 group of nations—the US, Britain, France, Russia, China and Germany.
Earlier this month, the administration of US President Donald Trump decided to continue for now to exempt Iran from nuclear-related sanctions that were removed under the JCPOA in exchange for limitations on Tehran’s peaceful nuclear program.
At the same time, however, the US Treasury Department announced economic sanctions on 11 individuals and companies in Iran accused of supporting Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) or engaging in cyber attacks on US banks.
The move was seen as yet another desperate attempt by the Trump administration in its quest for a pretext to scrap or weaken the JCPOA, which limits Washington’s abilities to put pressure on Iran.
Trump made his frustration with the landmark agreement clear to world leaders during his Tuesday’s debut UN speech by saying that Washington felt “embarrassed” for signing it.
The Republican president described the agreement as “the worst and most one-sided transaction the US has ever entered into,” a characterization he often used during his presidential campaign.
Lacorv said Wednesday that Moscow was “extremely concerned” by Trump’s stance on the deal, asserting that Russia would “defend” the JCPOA as it has “genuinely strengthened both regional and international security.”
Tehran has rebuked Trump’s rhetoric, with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif describing it as an “ignorant hate speech” that was “unworthy of a reply.”
Traditional US allies including France and the UK have also reiterated their commitment to the nuclear agreement.