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Iran will never allow US to exploit IAEA to kill nuclear deal: FM Zarif

Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif says Iran will never allow the United States to use the UN nuclear agency as an instrument to kill a landmark 2015 nuclear deal signed between Tehran and major world powers.

Addressing a joint press conference with his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov in Moscow on Tuesday, Zarif said withdrawing from international treaties and organizations has become the new normal for the administration of US President Donald Trump.

“We will not allow the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to become a tool in the hands of the Trump administration to destroy the JCPOA,” said the top Iranian diplomat, using an acronym for the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, as the nuclear deal is officially called.

As verified by the IAEA’s reports, the Islamic Republic has always cooperated with the agency in a transparent way and lived up to all of its commitments, he added.

Zarif said “we will never allow Iran to become the topic of investigations, which are based on espionage claims.”

“It will be very deplorable if the United Nations secretariat and the agency’s secretariat moves in the path of the JCPOA’s destruction,” he added.

In his introductory statement to the Board of Governors of the IAEA on Monday, the agency’s Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi claimed that “for over four months, Iran has denied us access to two locations” that the IAEA had asked for access to, urging Tehran to cooperate with the agency, “including by providing prompt access to the locations specified by us.”

Zarif further said “since quitting the JCPOA, the US has been using all pressure tools against Iran, and this is unacceptable.”

Since entering the Oval Office in 2016, Trump — a self-professed negotiator —has abandoned many international pacts and treaties that previous administrations had authorized.

In May 2018, Trump took an illegal and unilateral decision to end Washington’s participation in the Iran deal and re-impose the sanctions that the agreement had lifted, in defiance of the fact that the accord has been endorsed by UN Security Council Resolution 2231.

Under Washington’s pressure, the three European signatories to the JCPOA have so far failed to fulfill their contractual obligation to protect Tehran’s business interests against the sanctions.

Russia will do everything to protect JCPOA: Lavrov

The Russian foreign minister, for his part, said his country would stand by its ally Iran and do its utmost to prevent the collapse of the hard-won nuclear deal.

“We will be doing everything so that no one can destroy these agreements,” Lavrov told reporters after face-to-face talks with Zarif.

The top Russian diplomat slammed the United States for trying to “manipulate” the Security Council in order to put pressure on Iran and said “Washington has no right to punish Iran.”

He said US plans to extend an arms embargo on Iran “contravene international law,” expressing Moscow’s firm opposition to any attempts “to promote an anti-Iranian agenda.”

Lavrov described his talks with his Iranian counterpart as “very timely” and thanked him for accepting the invitation to come to Moscow for a “very useful” conversation.

Iran-Russia declaration on promotion of intl. law

Prior to the presser, the two ministers sat down for talks on various issues of bilateral and global significance.

At the end of the meeting, the Iranian and Russian foreign ministers signed a declaration in 13 paragraphs on promoting international law.

Iran and Russia expressed their determination to confront unlawful unilateral approaches to the settlement of international crises and to actively work instead to promote fair, multifaceted and collective approaches based on recognized principles and rules of international law in order to solve urgent regional and global issues.

The two sides emphasized the principle of requiring governments to refrain from threatening or resorting to force against the territorial integrity or the political independence of any other country in contradiction to the United Nations Charter. Accordingly, they condemn unilateral military intervention.

Iran and Russia voiced full support for the principle of non-interference in the internal or external affairs of countries.

They also emphasized that the two countries are resolved to counter terrorism in all its forms as a threat to global peace and security.

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