March 4, 2021
Russia and Turkey said they wanted the 2015 Iran nuclear deal to be “saved”, urging the United States to lift sanctions on Tehran.
Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said on Thursday that lifting US sanctions on Iran over its nuclear work and returning to the 2015 nuclear deal will contribute to regional stability and economic prosperity.
“President Erdogan, who stated that he wished the new US administration would abandon unilateral sanctions on Iran and lift restrictions on the prosperity of Iranian people, said the statements on the issue in recent days had led to a new window of opportunity,” the Turkish presidency said in a statement last month after phone call between Erdogan and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani.
Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Thursday the US must take steps that demonstrate the seriousness of its intentions to return to the Iranian nuclear deal, and there are still opportunities to save the accord known formally as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).
“The window of opportunity for rescuing the nuclear deal has not yet been closed. A prerequisite is the full and consistent implementation of the 2015 comprehensive agreements by all countries that developed and concluded them. We are working closely with all JCPOA participants to achieve this goal,” Russian state news agency Interfax cited Lavrov as saying.
“However, not everything here depends on us or the European participants in the Action Plan. The principal point is the position of the Joe Biden administration on the nuclear deal. In our opinion, Washington’s steps would contribute to unblocking the situation around Iran and its nuclear program, which would send a signal to Tehran demonstrating the seriousness of the US intentions to return to the JCPOA,” he added.
Washington and Tehran are locked in a standoff over reviving nuclear talks.
President Joe Biden’s administration has signaled to Iran its willingness to return to talks to revive the nuclear deal, which Trump abandoned in 2018 and subsequently announced additional sanctions on Iran.
Biden reversed Trump’s determination that all UN sanctions against Iran had been restored. And the State Department eased stringent restrictions on the domestic travel of Iranian diplomats in New York.
Yet, Tehran demanded that all Trump-era sanctions on Iran be lifted before taking any real action to return to the deal.
Russia, Turkey and Iran all have tenuous relationships with the US and face an uphill climb with the Biden administration which announced prioritizing human rights as part of its foreign policy.
Ties between Washington and Ankara have been strained over a host of issues including the latter’s purchase of Russian S-400 defense systems and detainment of journalists and activists under seemingly arbitrary terrorism charges.
Recently, the US sanctioned senior Russian government officials and Russian entities in response to Moscow’s attempt to kill opposition leader Alexei Navalny with a nerve agent.
The latest action by Biden’s administration marks a sharp departure from former President Donald Trump’s reluctance to confront Russian President Vladimir Putin.