Friday 20 October 2017

Kremlin warns US against ditching Iran nuclear deal

Kremlin warns US against ditching Iran nuclear deal
(AFP 10/13/17)

The Kremlin warned Washington on Friday that abandoning the Iran nuclear deal would be a heavy blow to international relations and non-proliferation efforts.

"This could seriously aggravate the situation around the Iranian nuclear dossier," President Vladimir Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov told journalists.

"Such actions will unequivocally damage the atmosphere of predictability, security, stability and non-proliferation in the entire world."

The warning came as US President Donald Trump is expected to unveil a more aggressive strategy to check Iran's growing power later Friday.

He is expected to stop short of withdrawing from the landmark 2015 nuclear deal which curbed Iran's nuclear program in return for sanctions relief but will announce that the agreement is no longer in the US national interest.

Officials say he will not kill the international accord outright, instead "decertifying" the agreement and leaving US lawmakers to decide its fate.

Separately, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, speaking to Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif by phone, expressed Moscow's "full commitment" to the Iran nuclear deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, the foreign ministry said on Friday.

The agreement was signed between Iran and six world powers -- Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia and the US -- at talks coordinated by the European Union.

Other parties to the deal have all voiced staunch support for it, saying Iran has stuck to its commitments to curb its nuclear programme.

While the deal stalled Iran's nuclear programme, opponents say it also prevented efforts to challenge growing Iranian influence in the Middle East.

Separately, the Kremlin expressed concern that the United States denied entry to a Russian military delegation that had planned to take part in a briefing on the sidelines of the United Nations.

"We are extremely concerned by the situation and consider it unacceptable," Peskov told reporters.

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