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All sides must stay committed to Iran deal: EU, Russia

The European Union (EU) and Russia have once again praised Iran’s compliance with the 2015 multilateral nuclear deal, renewing the call for the other parties to keep their side  of the bargain as well.

The EU’s foreign policy director Federica Mogherini and German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel held talks with Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif over the phone over late Wednesday and early Thursday, IRNA reported.

Both officials said Iran had fully lived up to its commitments under the deal, adding that as long as Tehran honors the obligations, Europe, too, would respect its side of the deal.

They urged all the parties to the deal to observe their contractual obligations, and said Iran should be allowed to collect the economic dividends of the deal, called the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

Inked between Iran and the P5+1 group of countries — the US, the United Kingdom, France, Russia and China plus Germany, the deal lifted nuclear-related sanctions against Tehran, which, in turn, placed certain limits on its nuclear energy program.

The EU chaired the P5+1 states during the negotiation process in the run-up to the deal.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov also held a phone conversation over the agreement and the situation surrounding it with his American counterpart, Rex Tillerson, Russia’s ITAR-TASS news agency reported on Thursday.

“Lavrov drew attention to the fact that Tehran abides by all its commitments on the JCPOA and stressed that the other co-authors must adhere to the document,” Russia’s Foreign Ministry said of the conversation.

Separately, Lavrov expressed doubt about the legal basis for the US to withdraw from the nuclear deal.

Lavrov, who was attending a joint press conference with the visiting Minister for External Affairs of Burundi Alain Aime Nyamitwe in Moscow, said the JCPOA had been “approved by the UN Security Council resolution” and is “subject to mandatory implementation.”

He said he did not know “what will be announced by the Americans,” but “given the status of the agreement, it is difficult to imagine how it is possible legally withdraw from it.”

Under the US law, the American government must verify to Congress every 90 days that Iran has been in compliance with the deal. It has done so twice so far.

US President Donald Trump (Photo by AFP)

However, reports say US President Donald Trump is to refuse to certify the agreement this time.

If Trump refuses to certify, the Congress will have 60 days to decide whether to restore the sanctions against the Islamic Republic that the US has agreed to waive under the deal.

Trump has been critical of the agreement since he started campaigning for 2017 presidency. He has called it “the worst deal ever” and an “embarrassment” to Washington.

No other party to the agreement has vilified the deal, which the EU and the United Nations consider as a triumph for international diplomacy.

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