The renewed Russian diplomatic efforts come against a backdrop of heightened tensions between Iran and the European parties to the nuclear deal – officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) –, who used to mediate between Tehran and Washington over the course of the Trump presidency.
Last week, the Russian efforts were on full display.
During his meeting with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif on January 2021, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov directly addressed the issue of saving the JCPOA in his opening remarks.
S. Lavrov said:
- We have a packed regional and international agenda. The task of saving the JCPOA ranks among the most topical subjects. Russia and Iran are sincerely interested in seeing all JCPOA signatories resume the fulfillment of their obligations;
- We are doing our best to ensure that, based on the statements by President Biden and his staff about their willingness to return to the JCPOA, all of us, including Iran, the EU and China, find concrete ways to have all JCPOA participants fulfill their obligations in full;
- By doing so, we would return this greatest achievement in nonproliferation to the «treasure trove» of international diplomacy and knock the trump cards out of the hands of those who wanted to push this situation to the limit and bring it to a ‘hot’ stage. Russia will do whatever it takes to prevent such a scenario from materializing.
Simultaneously with Zarif’s visit to Moscow, Russian President V.Putin picked up the phone to speak with Joe Biden for the 1st time about the JCPOA among other issues.
Russia is in close contact with Iran and the U.S. on the JCPOA.
It even held «serious and meaningful» talks with the U.S. about the nuclear deal, according to U.S. Ambassador to Russia John Sullivan.
Sullivan said in an interview with TV Rain:
- the Biden administration was carefully considering the prospect of the U.S. returning to the nuclear deal.
- U.S. was carefully considering the issue of returning to the JCPOA, adding that there was a serious and meaningful dialogue on this topic with Russia.