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Russian, Iranian Diplomats Discuss Nuclear Deal In Tehran

Updated

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov (left) and Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi (combination file photo)

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov and his Iranian counterpart Abbas Araqchi have discussed issues related to the 2015 nuclear deal amid increased tension between Tehran and Washington.

The two diplomats "shared the hope that the situation will stabilize soon. Therefore, a meeting of the JCPOA [Arbitral] Joint Commission might facilitate it," the Russian Foreign Ministry said following the May 29 talks in Tehran.

Iranian media reported that Ryabkov and Araqchi discussed Iran's decision not to follow some clauses of the deal between Iran and six world powers -- known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

Russia has called on the JCPOA Arbitral Joint Commission to convene to hear Tehran's complaints.

Iran's decision to quit some parts of the deal that required Tehran to curb its nuclear activity in exchange for sanctions relief was announced on May 8.

The move came a year after the United States withdrew from the pact and reimposed sanctions on Tehran. Iran also gave European signatories 60 days to implement their obligations under the deal between Iran on one side and the United States, Russia, China, Britain, France, and Germany on the other.

The United States has been stepping up political and economic pressure on Tehran since President Donald Trump took office in January 2017.

Trump has said the Iran nuclear deal was "fatally flawed" because it did not address Iran's ballistic-missile program or Tehran's alleged state sponsorship of terrorism.

Tensions have increased since the United States deployed military resources, including an aircraft-carrier strike group and bombers, and announced plans to deploy 1,500 troops to the Middle East.

While applying pressure, Trump has spoken of the possibility of a new agreement with Tehran.

"I really believe that Iran would like to make a deal, and I think that's very smart of them, and I think that's a possibility to happen," Trump said on May 27.

Signaling a firm position on May 29, Iranian President Hassan Rohani suggested that negotiations with the United States might be possible if Washington lifted sanctions and met its commitments under the nuclear deal.

"Whenever they lift the unjust sanctions and fulfill their commitments and return to the negotiations table, which they left themselves, the door is not closed," Rohani said in remarks carried by state TV.

Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi said on May 28 that Tehran saw no prospect of negotiations with Washington.

With reporting by AP, Reuters, Interfax, TASS, IRNA, and Mehr
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