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Russia hopeful Iran nuclear deal will be restored, says Foreign minister

SOCHI, RUSSIA - DECEMBER 21: (----EDITORIAL USE ONLY – MANDATORY CREDIT - "RUSSIAN FOREIGN MINISTRY PRESS OFFICE / HANDOUT" - NO MARKETING NO ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS - DISTRIBUTED AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS----) Russia's Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Bosnia And Herzegovina, Bisera Turkovic (not seen) hold an interdelegation meeting in Sochi, Russia on December 21, 2021. ( Russian Foreign Ministry - Anadolu Agency )
Russia's Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in Sochi, Russia on December 21, 2021 [Russian Foreign Ministry - Anadolu Agency]

Russia hopes talks to revive the Iran nuclear deal will be successful and all parties resume full compliance, Russia's foreign minister said on Wednesday, Anadolu Agency reported.

In an interview with Russia's RT news channel, Sergey Lavrov said the West is trying to distort facts by accusing Iran of delaying the process, pointing out that Tehran waited for more than a year for the US to return to the deal and did not violate its commitments.

Iran only limited or stopped fulfilling its obligations after it was completely sure that Washington would not go back on its decision, but still made clear that it was ready to revive the pact if the US reconsidered its position, according to the top Russian diplomat.

He said American and Iranian officials did not sit at the same table during the six rounds of consultations in Vienna from April to June this year, instead communicating through coordinators.

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The process still led to "a package of understandings" that has lifted hopes that the nuclear deal will be restored, Lavrov added.

"The current Iranian team is new, but they very quickly, and I would say professionally, got used to the material and prepared proposals," he said.

"At first, some Western participants took these with hostility, but they eventually recognized that the proposals have the right to exist and to be studied. And that's exactly how the work is going now," Lavrov said.

According to him, the biggest problem at the moment is not about the content but public image, as the US and Iran wrangle over who will be the first to announce a return to the pact.

"Iran is convinced that the Americans should do it because they were the first to withdraw from the JCPOA [Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action]," he said.

"The Americans believe that Iran had started to violate its obligations and, regardless of the fact that Washington did not fulfill its obligations at all, Iran should take the first step."

READ: Tough talks ahead for Iran nuclear deal

Russia and China, "with a certain understanding from the European participants," advocated for synchronizing the move, which is what negotiators in Vienna are doing at the moment, he explained.

Talks will restart after the Christmas break in Europe, according to Lavrov.

"Iran has confirmed that it will resume full implementation, including of the additional protocol to the agreement with the IAEA [International Atomic Energy Agency] about comprehensive guarantees, if the US starts fulfilling its obligations and stops threatening Tehran with sanctions," the Russian minister said.

However, he stressed that all participants have decided to work on the principle that "nothing is agreed until everything is agreed."

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