Russian President Vladimir Putin backs JCPOA, rejects what's being done against Iran

Russian President Vladimir Putin (3R) meets with heads of international news agencies on the sidelines of the St. Petersburg International...

Russian President Vladimir Putin (3R) meets with heads of international news agencies on the sidelines of the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF) in Saint Petersburg on June 6, 2019. (Photo by AFP)

Russian President Vladimir Putin has once again stressed the importance of preserving the multilateral nuclear agreement signed between Iran and major world powers in 2015, saying Moscow does not approve of "what is being done against Iran."

    "We support nothing of what is being done against Iran. We're discussing this with our partners, trying to persuade them that it is necessary to resort to measures that don't destroy the positivity, the hard work of the past years, and don't create anything long-term," Putin said during a meeting with heads of international news agencies on the sideline of St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF) on Thursday.

He added that Iran has fully complied with its commitments under the nuclear accord, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

"From the standpoint of control over its nuclear programs, Iran is today the most verifiable country in the world. These are not hollow words; this is what the IAEA management has been talking about," the Russian president pointed out.

He pointed to several inspections made by the UN nuclear agency to Iran's nuclear sites and said the IAEA has not found "a single violation in terms of the arrangements reached in the framework of the JCPOA."

Iran and the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council -- the United States, France, Britain, Russia and China -- plus Germany signed the nuclear agreement on July 14, 2015 and started implementing it on January 16, 2016.

Under the JCPOA, Iran undertook to put limits on its nuclear program in exchange for the removal of nuclear-related sanctions imposed against Tehran.

However, US President Donald Trump pulled his country out of the JCPOA in May 2018 and re-imposed harsh sanctions against the Islamic Republic in defiance of global criticisms.

On the first anniversary of the US withdrawal from the nuclear deal, Iran announced that it would suspend the implementation of some of its commitments under the deal, announcing that it would stop exporting excess uranium and heavy water, setting a 60-day deadline for the five remaining parties to the deal to take practical measures towards ensuring its interests in the face of the American sanctions.

In its quarterly report on May 31, the IAEA said Iran's increased stocks of key nuclear materials are still within the limits set by the JCPOA.
It added that Iran had stayed within caps on items, including the level to which it enriches uranium and its stock of enriched uranium.In reaction to recent remarks made by French President Emmanuel Macron who accused Tehran of making efforts to achieve nuclear arms, the Russian leader drew a line between Iran’s nuclear and missile programs.

"Yes, someone may be concerned by Iran's missile programs. But that's a different problem," Putin said.

In his Thursday meeting with US President Donald Trump, the French president said Paris and Washington both wanted to stop Tehran getting nuclear arms and new talks should focus on curbing its ballistic missiles program and on other issues.

Macron listed four common priorities of the US and France in addressing "Iranian behavior": preventing Iran from getting a nuclear weapon, reducing Iran's ballistic activity, containing Iran's regional activity and establishing peace in the region.

However, Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Abbas Moussavi rejected French calls for wider international talks over its nuclear program and said Macron's comments will be of no help to saving the Iran nuclear deal and will just further deepen distrust among its signatories."Under the current circumstances, their move to raise issues beyond the JCPOA will not only fail to help save the JCPOA, but will also prepare the grounds for further distrust among the parties remaining in the agreement," the spokesman said.

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