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Lavrov: Trump Trying To Undermine Iran Deal


Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, accompanied by Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova, answers reporters' questions in Moscow on January 15.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has accused U.S. President Donald Trump of trying to undermine the nuclear deal between Iran and world powers, saying Trump’s statements could lead to the cancellation of the deal.

Speaking on January 15 at a news conference to recap Russian diplomatic activity over the past year, Lavrov said Trump’s latest statements were "aimed to disrupt” the 2015 accord on Iran’s nuclear program and “did not add to optimism and stability.”

"We will not support what the United States is trying to do, changing the wording of the agreement, incorporating things that will be absolutely unacceptable for Iran," Lavrov said.

“Unfortunately, our American colleagues still want to operate exclusively on the basis of diktat and ultimatums,” he said, repeating an accusation Russian officials frequently make.

“They do not want to listen to the viewpoints of other centers of world policy and, therefore, they essentially do not want to accept the realities of the forming multipolar world," Lavrov, foreign minister since 2004, said at the annual news conference.

As in the past, he singled out the United States for criticism on several issues and sought to portray Russia as a constructive power that is seeking to strengthen stability and resolve conflicts in the face of what he cast as Western recalcitrance.

The United States and others charge that Russia has damaged regional and global stability with actions including its military interference in Ukraine, its backing for the Syrian government in that country's war, and its alleged meddling in elections in the West.

The nuclear accord – signed by Tehran and the United States, Britain, France, Germany, Russia, and China -- is aimed at assuring that Iran does not build nuclear weapons.

Under the deal, Tehran has agreed to curb its nuclear program in exchange for the lifting of international sanctions against Iran.

But Trump says the United States will pull out of the deal unless the European signatories fix what he called “terrible flaws” in the agreement.

Trump on January 12 said he would extend sanctions relief to Iran under the deal, leaving the accord intact for now. But he wants the pact strengthened with a separate agreement within 120 days.

Tehran insists its nuclear program is only for peaceful purposes and has rejected the notion of any modification of the 2015 accord.

The other signatories to the pact have urged the United States to continue to adhere to the current agreement.

Lavrov said that if changes are made or an additional agreement imposed, Tehran will not feel obliged to adhere to the deal.

He also said that the deal's collapse would make it more difficult to resolve the confrontation between North Korea and world powers over Pyongyang's nuclear weapons and missile programs.

Among the changes Trump is demanding is that Iran allow more timely inspections of sites requested by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and the elimination of so-called “sunset clauses,” under which some of the restrictions on Iran’s nuclear program expire over time.

In addition, Trump demanded that the deal should state that Iran's nuclear effort and its missile programs are inseparable.

U.S. and other officials have complained that Iran's ballistic-missile program can easily be converted for nuclear use.

Iranian President Hassan Rohani said on January 14 that Trump and his administration have “failed to undermine” the nuclear accord, "despite his repeated efforts."

Rohani praised the nuclear accord as "a long-lasting victory for Iran.”

With reporting by RFE/RL's Merhat Sharipzhan, Reuters, AP, AFP, TASS, Interfax, and IRNA
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