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Critical moment for new Biden administration to rejoin JCPOA: Russia’s FM

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov says it is a “critical moment” for the administration of US President Joe Biden to return to the multilateral nuclear deal of 2015 signed between Iran and major world powers.

“We are approaching a critical moment.”

“We are counting on the US administration, as the country that negotiated and concluded the JCPOA (the nuclear deal, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action), to decide the extent to which it can return to the most important international document,” Lavrov said at a press conference following a meeting with European Union High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell in Moscow on Friday.

The top Russian diplomat described the JCPOA as “an achievement of multilateral diplomacy” and an “example of the efforts that need to be made both to defuse tensions and to strengthen the nuclear non-proliferation regime.”

Lavrov once again affirmed Moscow’s commitment to working within the framework of the JCPOA to resolve issues pertaining to Iran’s nuclear energy program.

Under his signature ‘maximum pressure’ policy against Iran, former US President Donald Trump withdrew Washington from the deal and restored the economic sanctions the agreement had removed. The US also began threatening third countries with “secondary sanctions” if they violated the American bans.

Trump abandoned the deal despite its multilateral nature and the fact that it has been endorsed as United Nations Security Council Resolution 2231.

Iran says the United States’ potential return to the JCPOA could only be meaningful if Washington removed all of the sanctions.

During his 2020 campaign, Biden voiced strong criticism of Trump’s withdrawal. He also promised to rejoin the accord, which was signed when he was vice president. However, he has failed to take corrective measures since he assumed office on January 20.

In the presser, Borrell said the EU and Russia should cooperate on many issues.

“On international arena, I think the [Russian] minister has made reference to all of that, there are places and issues in which we can also work together. JCPOA is a good example,” the top EU diplomat said.

He added that Russia and the EU should also work together on the Middle East peace process.

Speaking to Russia’s Interfax news agency before making the trip to Moscow on Thursday, Borrell said it is high time the ‘maximum pressure’ policy towards Iran was jettisoned in favor of diplomatic engagement and interaction.

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