A top Russian official said bilateral relations and trade with Iran could actually be enhanced if President Trump follows through on a threat to take the United States out of the 2015 nuclear deal wit
A top Russian official said bilateral relations and trade with Iran could actually be enhanced if President Trump follows through on a threat to take the United States out of the 2015 nuclear deal with Tehran next week.
Vladimir Yermakov, head of arms control and nonproliferation for the Russian Foreign Ministry, told reporters Friday that a U.S. withdrawal would not kill the deal, which Iran signed with the Obama administration and five international powers — Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany.
The European allies have lobbied heavily for Mr. Trump not to withdraw from the deal, fearing that the reimposition of American economic and financial sanctions could cast a heavy cloud over their own business dealings with Tehran.
But Mr. Yermakov argued the deal, which curbed Iranian nuclear programs in exchange for an end to international sanctions, would survive even without U.S. participation, according to the Moscow Times. He spoke to reporters at a nuclear nonproliferation summit in Geneva.
“It might even be easier for us on the economic front, because we won’t have any limits on economic cooperation with Iran,” he said. “We would develop bilateral relations in all areas — energy, transport, high-tech, medicine.”
Iranian officials have said they would not be bound by the nuclear restrictions in the deal if the U.S. withdrew, and have rejected any attempt to re-write its terms. But they have stopped short of saying the entire agreement would be void if the U.S. pulled out.
Mr. Yermakov said Friday it would be smarter for Tehran to stay in the deal and honor its commitments not to seek nuclear weapons.
“It’s not in anybody’s interest that Iran goes back to the kind of development of its nuclear program that all states would be concerned about,” he said. “But Iran is fully entitled to develop peaceful nuclear energy.”
China this week also said it continued to support the nuclear accord and called on all sides to honor their commitments.
The U.N. nuclear watchdog agency says Iran has met its commitments under the deal, but Mr. Trump and other critics say the accord has failed to restrain Iran’s other military programs and its moves to destabilize other states in the region. Many of the restrictions on Iran’s nuclear programs in the deal are also set to expire in just seven years.