RNA - Speaking after a meeting with his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi in Sochi on Monday, Lavrov said the nuclear accord, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), includes clear provisions that enable Iran to halt some of the commitments it accepted voluntarily if other signatories to the deal fail to comply with their obligations under the agreement.
He added Russia and China believe that it is essential to preserve the JCPOA and that the unilateral US sanctions against Iran are illegitimate and aimed, in particular, at halting oil exports from the country.
"We also noted that the Islamic Republic of Iran remains committed to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, but expects the same from our European colleagues, who also have to implement their part of the agreements," Lavrov said.
The top Russian diplomat expressed hope to hold "candid" talks with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on the issue. He also expressed optimism that the European signatories to the deal would comply with their obligations despite Washington's pressure.
"This plan and this resolution, which is binding, guarantee that Iran will freely supply its oil to world markets. Therefore, the Russian Federation will make sure that other parties to the deal, first of all our European colleagues, will fulfill their part of the agreement. There's simply no other way", the Russian foreign minister said.
US President Donald Trump withdrew Washington in May 2018 from the multilateral nuclear agreement and decided to re-impose unilateral sanctions against Tehran.
Under the JCPOA, reached in July 2015 between Iran and the P5+1 group of countries, the United States, Britain, France, Russia and China plus Germany, Iran undertook to put limits on its nuclear program in exchange for the removal of nuclear-related sanctions.
The US administration said in a statement on April 22 that, in a bid to reduce Iran's oil exports to zero, buyers of Iranian oil must stop purchases by May 1 or face sanctions. The move ended six months of waivers, which allowed Iran’s eight biggest buyers -- Turkey, China, Greece, India, Italy, Japan, South Korea and Taiwan -- to continue importing limited volumes.
“The United States, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates ... along with our friends and allies, are committed to ensuring that global oil markets remain adequately supplied,” the White House statement said, adding, “We have agreed to take timely action to assure that global demand is met as all Iranian oil is removed from the market.”
On the first anniversary of the US withdrawal from the nuclear deal, Iran announced that it would suspend the implementation of some of its commitments under the deal, announcing that it would stop exporting excess uranium and heavy water, setting a 60-day deadline for the five remaining parties to the deal to take practical measures towards ensuring its interests in the face of the American sanctions.
In an exclusive interview with Press TV, Behrouz Kamalvandi, the spokesman of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI), said the country has a host of different measures to take if its nuclear case is sent back to the UN Security Council, including quitting the nuclear deal.
“The Islamic Republic of Iran will take drastic and major steps to realize the right of the Iranian nation," he said, adding, “We cannot exclude any measure … We have so far talked about different measures. It could be leaving the [nuclear] deal [and] it could be other actions as to the NPT (the Non-Proliferation Treaty) or any other things…. It is for the senior officials of the country to decide."
'Germany working on maintaining legal channel for trade with Iran'
A German government spokesman said on Monday that Berlin is working on maintaining a legal channel for trade with Iran.
"Along with our E3 partners, we're undertaking efforts to keep enabling legitimate trade with Iran, in particular by providing a payment channel," Steffen Seibert told a regular news conference.
Late in January, the three European parties to the 2015 deal issued a joint statement, announcing the launch of a long-awaited direct non-dollar payment mechanism meant to safeguard their trade ties with Tehran in the face of the sanctions.
Germany, France and Britain had registered the Instrument in Support of Trade Exchanges (INSTEX) which would be based in the French capital, Paris, and managed by a German banking expert.
The foreign ministers of France, Germany, and Britain met with European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini in the EU headquarters in Brussels on Monday to discuss Iran’s recent decision to stop implementing parts of its commitments under the JCPOA.
During the meeting, the top diplomats were scheduled to discuss their response to the deadline Iran gave to Europe for the implementation of their commitments under the deal.
Earlier on Monday, Mogherini said that the European Union fully supports the international nuclear accord with Iran after Tehran decided to scale down its commitments in response to US sanctions.
"We will continue to support it as much as we can with all our instruments and all our political will," Mogherini said before meeting foreign ministers of Britain, France and Germany in Brussels.
France FM calls on EU to remain united on JCPOA
French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian also on Monday called for Europeans to remain united in their support for the Iranian nuclear deal.
According to Press TV, Le Drian, however, described as "very worrying" a declaration by Iranian President Hassan Rouhani who said Tehran could resume enrichment at a higher grade if the European powers, China and Russia did not do more to circumvent US sanctions on banking and energy to boost trade with Tehran.
He added that the American position to increase the pressure and the sanctions doesn't suit Europeans.
"So, we will see with our colleagues how to act together to maintain the JCPOA and to keep Iran in the JCPOA, because we did not break this agreement. And so we will consider the initiatives that we must take following these declarations," the French foreign minister said.
"It is also important that Europe remains united on this subject. This has always been the case until now and I am convinced that it will remain so," he added.
The top French diplomat noted that he would raise the issue with the US secretary of state during the day.