Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has criticized certain Western countries for seeking to isolate Tehran, saying that Iran cannot be locked within its frontiers.
Speaking to reporters on the sidelines of the 73rd session of the UN General Assembly in New York on Friday, Lavrov stressed that it was unrealistic to sideline the Islamic Republic as a regional player in the Middle East.
“So, it seems that in order to stabilize all these countries — Yemen, Syria, and Iraq — you have to achieve for the Iranian positions to be weakened, and even better, to be eliminated, so that there will be no Iranian influence there,” he said. “I don’t think that you can lock it in a cage within its borders.”
Iran has been assisting Syria and Iraq in their counter-terrorism fights at the request of their respective governments.
Lavrov also noted that Saudi Arabia and Qatar were also pursuing their own interests beyond their borders.
The top Russian diplomat further rejected accusations by Western powers that Iran supported terror, adding, “We do not have proof that, for example, Iran is a state that sponsors terrorism.”
He further welcomed a recent agreement between the remaining parties to the 2015 nuclear deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), to establish a “special purpose vehicle” to facilitate payments related to Iran’s exports.
“All avenues, all ways are being discussed for Iran to receive what was promised by the Security Council,” including a barter system for oil, Lavrov said.
Russia to do ‘everything possible’ to save JCPOA
Separately on Friday, the Russian foreign minister addressed the General Assembly, where he blasted the West for using “any methods, including political blackmail, economic pressure and brute force” to stop a multipolar world.
He also accused Washington of having undermined a series of international treaties and agreements, among them the Iran nuclear accord.
“Attacks have been launched against the basic principles of the Middle East peace process, the JCPOA, commitments of the World Trade Organization, climate agreements and many more,” Lavrov said.
Back in May, President Donald Trump pulled the US out of the JCPOA despite objections from other signatories of the agreement.
Besides re-imposing the anti-Iran sanctions it had lifted under the deal, the Trump administration has also been seeking to discourage the European firms from doing business with Iran by threatening them with penalties.
Lavrov said that Iran was “fully complying” with its obligations under the JCPOA, adding that Washington’s “unilateral” withdrawal from the deal violated UN Security Council Resolution 2231.
He emphasized that Moscow remained committed to preserving the landmark nuclear agreement despite the US pullout.
“We will do everything possible to preserve the deal that was approved by the UN Security Council,” Lavrov said.
Tehran has emphasized that it will stay in the nuclear accord only if it is provided with “practical guarantees” that its economic dividends of the deal will remain intact.