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Russian FM: We never betray friends, Iran very close to us

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov (Photo by AFP)

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov says his country, unlike the US, is not seeking “selfish interests” by the restoration of the 2015 Iran nuclear deal.   

Lavrov made the remarks on Saturday when he was asked whether the revival of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) was advantageous to Moscow, given that it could lead to the resumption of Iran’s oil supply to the global market.

"We never betray our friends in politics. Venezuela is our friend, and Iran is a state that is very close to us. Secondly, we do not pursue selfish interests, unlike the Americans," he told reporters.

"You can see what they [the Americans] are actually doing, trying to spite Russia and teach it a lesson. Ah, well, let the regime in Caracas be. Let Iran be, let us reinstate the program as soon as we can just to punish Russians.”

Earlier this month, US President Joe Biden announced a ban on all Russian oil, gas and energy imports over the military operation in Ukraine.

The measure sent the already skyrocketing oil and gasoline prices ever higher, with reports saying that Washington is potentially looking at Iran and Venezuela for oil talks

Biden also tried to contact Persian Gulf Arab countries to seek help amid rising energy prices.

"So, the Americans have been contacting Saudi Arabia, the Emirates and Qatar regarding oil and gas. All of those countries, just like Venezuela and Iran, clearly said: when we discuss issues pertaining to the appearance of new actors in the oil market, all of us are committed to the OPEC+ format, where quotas for every actor are discussed and agreed upon by consensus," Lavrov  said.

"For now, I see no reason to believe that this mechanism may somehow be dismantled. No one is interested in that.”

Ireland says JCPOA revival can ease oil prices

In another development on Saturday, Irish foreign minister Simon Coveney said a revival of the JCPOA could help ease global oil prices by bringing a major producer back into the market.

“Certainly having a big new player in the market, if you like, Iranian crude oil coming back into the market with the removal of sanctions, would be a very attractive prospect in terms of reducing pressure on oil prices, because of sanctions on Russia, which are likely, I think, to remain for quite some time,” he said.

“I think that is an added incentive to try to get a deal done now.”

Earlier this month, the talks in Vienna, aimed at resurrecting the JCPOA, were paused for an undetermined period of time despite reports suggesting that they were in final stages.

Iranian officials have repeatedly said the United States should remove all illegal sanctions against the Islamic Republic in a verifiable manner and guarantee that a new US administration would not breach the JCPOA once again.

Former US president Donald Trump unilaterally left the JCPOA in May 2018 and re-imposed the anti-Iran sanctions that the deal had lifted. He also placed additional sanctions on Iran under other pretexts not related to the nuclear case as part of his “maximum pressure” campaign.

In May 2019, following a year of strategic patience, Iran decided to let go of some of the restrictions on its nuclear energy program, resorting to its legal rights under the JCPOA, which grants a party the right to suspend its contractual commitments in case of non-compliance by the other side.

The Biden administration says it is willing to compensate for Trump’s mistake and rejoin the deal, but it has retained the sanctions as leverage.


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