UPDATES WITH COMMENTS BY GERMAN FOREIGN MINISTER
By Ayhan Simsek
BERLIN (AA) - Russia has called on EU’s major powers on Thursday to take steps to implement the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran, despite U.S. pressure to block the agreement.
Speaking at a joint news conference with his German counterpart, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said the U.S. was violating international law by prohibiting others to comply with the terms of the nuclear deal.
“I believe that our European partners could take a more principled stance towards this issue,” Lavrov told a news conference, following his meeting with German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas.
“All the participants of this deal needs to get involved in the process of helping implement and maintain the agreement,” he said, in remarks translated into English.
The nuclear agreement, also known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), was signed in 2015 between Iran and Russia, China, France, the U.K., and the U.S., plus Germany.
However, last year U.S. President Donald Trump unilaterally withdrew from the deal and intensified pressure on Tehran by re-imposing sanctions targeting the country’s energy and banking sectors.
Lavrov underlined that the nuclear deal with Iran, which was reached after long years of negotiations, was a breakthrough in the region.
“Like Germany, France and the U.K., we once again call upon the U.S. to show restraint and preserve this important deal” he stressed.
By the agreement, world’s major powers promised to lift economic sanctions imposed on Iran in return for Tehran agreeing to limit its nuclear activity to peaceful and civilian purposes.
For his part, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas reaffirmed his country’s commitment to Iran as part of the deal, but also called on Tehran to fully comply with the agreement.
He also called on Russia and other parties to the agreement to speak with one voice.
“It is important for all the parties involved in the agreement to act together and use their influence on Tehran, so that Iran would return to full compliance with the nuclear deal,” he said.
In June, Iran sharply criticized world powers for not fulfilling their promises and threatened to abandon parts of the nuclear deal.
Tensions between the U.S. and Iran also escalated last month after two oil tankers were attacked at the Strait of Hormuz. The U.S. held Iran responsible for the attacks and also accused them of destroying navigation devices in waters, both accusations denied by Iran.
Days later, Iran shot down a U.S. drone, claiming it had violated Iran's airspace. The U.S. claimed the drone had been over international waters.