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Lavrov Says Hopes Iran Deal Can Be Saved Despite 'Unacceptable' U.S. Withdrawal

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov at the Moscow Nonproliferation Conference on November 8.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has voiced hope that a landmark nuclear agreement between world powers and Iran will be saved despite Washington's withdrawal from the deal.

In May last year, the United States withdrew from the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) deal and has since reimposed sanctions on Iran to force the country to the return to the negotiating table.

Washington argued that the terms were not tough enough to prevent the country from developing nuclear weapons, agree on curbs to its ballistic-missile program, and end its destabilizing activities in the Middle East.

Iran denies U.S. allegations that it is trying to develop ballistic missiles capable of delivering nuclear weapons and says its nuclear program is for peaceful energy purposes.

"Despite Washington's certain actions that are absolutely unacceptable, the JCPOA has not lost its relevance," Lavrov said at the Moscow Nonproliferation Conference on November 8, in comments reported by Russian news agencies.

"Now that [the agreement] has been dismantled or is close to being dismantled...I hope that it can still be saved," Lavrov said, adding that "the JCPOA was welcomed by all as an immense breakthrough not only in relation to the Iranian nuclear program but also in the strengthening of the nonproliferation regime," Lavrov said.

After President Donald Trump's decision to pull the United States out of the agreement, Tehran rolled back some commitments under the plan. On November 7, it resumed enriching uranium at its underground Fordow facility -- the fourth such step Iran has taken in response to the reinstatement of sanctions by Washington.

Enriched uranium can be used to make reactor fuel, but can also potentially be used to produce nuclear weapons.

Based on reporting by Interfax and TASS
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