Relations between Iran and Russia are at their highest over the past decades, visiting Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif said on Monday after talks with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.
“Relations between Russia and Iran are at the highest level over the past decades,” he said at a news conference. “Cooperation between Russia and Iran has a strategic character and is especially successful in the energy and transport sectors, and in the area of maintaining peace and security.”
The Iranian top diplomat noted that Russia had played a key role in keeping the Iran nuclear deal in place. “Russia’s and China’s position on the nuclear deal is closer to that of Iran [than the position of European countries and the United States]. Economic relations between our countries are developing despite Washington’s pressure,” he stressed.
Tensions over Iran’s nuclear program exacerbated after Washington unilaterally withdrew from the JCPOA on May 8, 2018 and slapped US economic sanctions on Iran’s oil exports. The JCPOA was signed between Iran, the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council (Russia, the United Kingdom, China, the United States and France) and Germany in 2015. Under the deal, Iran undertook to curb its nuclear activities and place them under total control of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in exchange of abandonment of the sanctions imposed previously by the United Nations Security Council, the European Union and the United States over its nuclear program. Other signatories to the deal stand for keeping it in place. The European Union established the INSTEX (Instrument in Support of Trade Exchanges) vehicle to facilitate legal trade with Iran bypassing the US sanctions. The mechanism has only been launched in the pilot regime and is not applicable to oil-related transactions.