Revival of the initial 2015 accord is the only “reasonable” way forward, the Russian Foreign Ministry has said
Any ‘Plan B’ in the talks on the Iranian nuclear program would violate a “consensus decision” of the UN Security Council on the issue and have “unavoidable negative consequences” for the entire Middle East, the Russian Foreign Ministry warned on Thursday.
“Any departure [from the original 2015 deal] or ‘Plans B’ that some people like to speculate about would run counter to the consensus decisions of the [UN] Security Council,” said Ivan Nechaev, the ministry’s deputy spokesman, referring to a 2015 UNSC resolution supporting that year’s agreement on the Iranian nuclear program.
The revival of the existing 2015 deal through the ongoing talks in Vienna is the only “reasonable and effective way” forward, Nechaev told journalists during a briefing. He also welcomed the latest round of indirect talks between the US and Iranian delegations in Vienna, which resulted in some “progress” on issues that had earlier been a stumbling block in the negotiations.
“A positive result of the talks is… achievable,” Nechaev said, adding that “there are no irreconcilable differences between the parties. Further progress would solely depend on each side’s “political will,” the diplomat said.
At the same time, Moscow slammed the EU for what it called the bullying tactics. “The language of ultimatums does not work in such a sensitive and high-stakes issue,” Nechaev said as he particularly criticized Peter Stano, the spokesman for EU diplomatic chief Josep Borrell.
Earlier this week, Stano told journalists that “everything that could be negotiated has been incorporated into the final version of the text” compiled after the latest round of talks between Tehran and Washington, which was mediated by the EU. “It’s yes or no,” Stano insisted, adding that “there is no more room for other compromises.” Borrell himself also called the document “the final text” at that time.
On Thursday, the Russian Foreign Ministry responded by saying Stano had no authority to make such statements on behalf of all parties involved in the talks. The Iranian deal, also known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), was built on “carefully measured balance of interests” and not “crude political pressure,” it added.
The work on reviving the deal will only end “when interests of all parties involved are properly taken into account,” Nechaev told journalists on Thursday.
Last week, Washington said it developed a proposal for a mutual return to the nuclear deal with Iran. Tehran responded by saying the revival of the agreement relies primarily on the US’ “will” and that Washington must show its readiness to achieve a long-term result.
The Western media have also been publishing pieces calling on Washington and Brussels to work out a ‘Plan B’ that can be used if the Vienna negotiations yield no results. Some of the pieces openly called on Western governments to ditch the talks in favor of this option, which has apparently yet to be devised. “Enough of the ‘tenuous’ Iran nuclear deal – it’s time for Plan B,” read an opinion piece The Hill published in early July. “Biden Should Show Iran What ‘Plan B’ Looks Like,” another piece published by the Washington Post in mid-June suggested.
The deal signed in 2015 by Iran, the US, the UK, France and Germany – as well as Russia, China and the EU – involved Tehran agreeing to certain restrictions on its nuclear industry in exchange for the lifting of economic sanctions and other incentives.
The agreement has been in limbo since 2018 when it was torpedoed by the US under then-President Donald Trump, who unilaterally withdrew from it. In response, Iran started gradually reducing its commitments under the accord, such as the level of enriched uranium it produces.
On August 1, Tehran announced it has “the technical ability to build an atomic bomb,” adding, however, that such a program “is not on the agenda.”