Mar 06, 2019 09:57 UTC
  • Russian diplomat: US blackmailing countries cooperating with Iran

Russia’s permanent representative to Vienna-based international organizations says the United States has been “blackmailing” countries doing business with Iran since pulling out of the multilateral 2015 nuclear deal.

Mikhail Ulyanov made the remarks at a meeting of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)’s Board of Governors on Tuesday, Russia’s TASS news agency reported.

The agreement was originally signed between Iran and the 5+1 group -- the US, the UK, France, Russia, and China plus Germany -- in Vienna in 2015. It lifted nuclear-related sanctions against Tehran, which, in turn, changed certain aspects of its nuclear program.

The US, however, left the accord last May and reinstated the sanctions. It has also been threatening “secondary sanctions” against businesses seeking countries to maintain their presence in Iran despite the American bans.

Following its withdrawal, Ulyanov added, the US started large-scale activities to undermine the agreement in breach of the United Nations Security Council Resolution 2231, which endorsed the international document.

“Not only did Washington fail to fulfill its obligations to remove sanctions on Iran but it also has been economically blackmailing other countries that continue to legally cooperate with Iran,” Ulyanov said.

Fearing that the sanctions could shock the oil market, however, the US granted waivers from oil sanctions to many countries, including major purchasers India and China. Washington has, however, threatened that it would not renew the waivers.

Ulyanov further said Russia shared the view of UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres who, in his December 2018 report to the Security Council, expressed regret over US actions and said they run counter to Resolution 2231.

“As a result, the nuclear deal’s integrity has been undermined, as well as the balance between its nuclear and economic provisions. Huge damage has been done to the deal’s economic provisions, while the nuclear ones are being effectively implemented,” the Russian envoy stressed.

Meanwhile, the IAEA has verified for the 14th time Iran’s continued commitment to its obligations under the nuclear deal, which is officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

The rest of the signatories to the accord have also reprimanded Washington for the withdrawal and vowed efforts to preserve it.

In late January, the three European parties to the Iran deal unveiled a non-dollar direct payment channel, known as INSTEX, with the aim of protecting their companies against US bans and enabling them to continue trade with Iran.

Washington has said it does not expect that the trade mechanism will impact its “maximum economic pressure campaign.”