Russia urges Europe to protect Iran from U.S.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, speaking after talks with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif in Moscow, said that Russia and Iran agreed to cooperate with all signatories to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), except for the United States.
Lavrov noted that “the U.S. is to blame for the situation and it makes it difficult for both Iran to fulfill its obligations and ... for the general state of the nuclear non-proliferation regime.”
The Russian minister said that the ministers agreed to continue working with all remaining signatories to the deal to ensure obligations are honored even if the U.S. won’t return to the table.
He also said that the INSTEX mechanism is less effective than originally planned, and that Moscow supports Iran's demand to include oil provisions. "As far as I understand, it [INSTEX] is much less effective than it was planned, much less comprehensive. For Iran it is important that it allows to export Iranian oil, we support it, this is an absolutely legitimate requirement, which is enshrined in the JCPOA," the Russian top diplomat stressed.
"Even so far, the limited mechanism created by the Europeans has not begun to work. We urge them to draw conclusions from the current situation and begin to fulfill their obligations in full", Lavrov added.
In addition, Lavrov said that Iran is unlikely to pull out its troops from Syria under U.S. pressure. "Of course, everything is connected in this world. We regularly hear statements by the United States on the necessity to put an end to Iranian influence not only in Syria, but in the region. It is obvious to everyone that this is unrealistic and under no chances can it be considered a serious policy," TASS cited the diplomat as saying.
"Any country as big as Iran, Saudi Arabia, or any other country that has any weight in its region, is interested in influencing the processes taking place around it. The most important thing is that this influence is legitimate, transparent and in accordance with international law. Iran’s presence, as well as the presence of the Russian Federation in the Syrian Arab Republic is based on these principles exactly," the Russian minister stressed.
Lavrov reminded that Iran had received the invitation of Syria’s legitimate government, and that Moscow and Tehran are providing support in the fight against terrorism.
A leading analyst of the National Energy Security Fund, a lecturer at the Financial University under the Government of the Russian Federation, Igor Yushkov, speaking to Vestnik Kavkaza, noted that Europe could take a few steps. "First, Europeans could stop using the dollar as a currency when buying Iranian oil. Second, it could make a mechanism to anonymize Iranian supplies through the creation of a chain of small companies that do not have U.S. ownership and ties with the Americans, so that these companies could resell each other Iranian oil, and then it could be bought by end consumers. Such plans were developed by Europeans, but buyers have no confidence that the Americans will not impose sanctions against them," he drew attention.
"This is a difficult question - why should European companies risk their money buying Iranian oil when they can find an alternative? Iran should provide huge discounts (roughly speaking, $20 per barrel instead of $70 per barrel). Ultimately, the INSTEX mechanism does not work because buyers do not want to take risks. Everyone understands that Americans will carefully watch form where oil comes to refineries. As soon as they have doubts that this is Iranian oil, the U.S. will just impose sanctions," Igor Yushkov explained.
"Such an easy approach of the United States in the issue of sanctions frightens consumers, forcing them to abandon Iranian oil. At least, the volume of purchases will be several times less than in the pre-sanction era," the leading analyst of the National Energy Security Fund concluded