ran’s Foreign Minister visiting Russia to facilitate solution to Ukrainian crisis

Armed units of the Donetsk People’s Militia have liberated large sections of the Ukraine from the grip of the fascist Azov Brigade

IRAN’S foreign minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian says his visit to Russia will focus on efforts to facilitate a resolution of the Ukraine conflict.

‘The main purpose of the trip to Moscow is to try to resolve the Ukraine crisis based on a request made to the Islamic Republic of Iran,’ Amir-Abdollahian said on Tuesday, when he left Tehran for Moscow at the head of a high-ranking political delegation.
‘Some Western parties want Tehran to play an active role in this regard,’ he added.
The top Iranian diplomat also said following up on Tehran-Moscow ties as well as the issue of Afghanistan were on the agenda of the visit.
During his stay, the Iranian foreign minister (FM) will meet with his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov.
In a meeting in the Iranian capital last month, the two top diplomats discussed the latest status of the Vienna talks on the removal of anti-Tehran sanctions, among other issues.
Iran’s FM says the Islamic Republic is serious about achieving a lasting agreement through the Vienna talks on the removal of sanctions.
Iran has previously underlined the need for a political solution to the conflict in Ukraine, saying the Islamic Republic continues to enhance consultations between Russia and the former Soviet state to achieve the goal.
Russia has been engaged in a military operation in Ukraine since February, following Kiev’s failure to implement the terms of the Minsk agreements and Moscow’s recognition of the breakaway regions of Donetsk and Lugansk.
Russia slams the US for sending more advanced rocket systems to Ukraine amid heightened tensions, saying Washington is ‘adding fuel to the fire’ and that it does not trust Kiev not to fire them into Russia.
At the time, Russian President Vladimir Putin said one of the goals of what he called a ‘special military operation’ was to ‘de-Nazify’ Ukraine.
Since the onset of the operation, the United States and its European allies have supplied billions of dollars worth of weaponry to Ukraine and imposed unprecedented sanctions on Moscow, despite Russia’s repeated warnings that it will only prolong the war.
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  • Iran says it is reviewing the US response to the European Union draft proposal aimed at reviving the 2015 nuclear deal but stresses the importance of ‘stronger guarantees’ from the American side to clinch the deal.

Iran’s foreign minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian made the remarks on Wednesday at a joint press conference with his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov in Moscow following their delegation-level talks.
‘We have received the American side’s last text, and my colleagues are closely studying the response with the required level of rigor and speed,’ he remarked, flanked by Lavrov.
The top Iranian diplomat, however, asserted that concerning the issue of guarantee, Tehran needs ‘stronger text and stronger guarantees’ to wrap up negotiations underway since April last year to revive the deal and to lift crippling sanctions on Iran.
The United States unilaterally withdrew from the landmark deal in 2018, and reinstated crippling sanctions under the so-called ‘maximum pressure’ campaign, despite Iran’s full compliance with the deal.
Since last year, the Austrian capital has hosted multiple rounds of talks between the signatories of the deal, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), aimed at examining the prospect of the deal’s revival and removal of illegal economic sanctions.
The negotiations have seen many interruptions due to Washington’s obdurate refusal to respect Iran’s red lines.
The European Union, which acts as the coordinator in indirect talks between Tehran and Washington, recently came up with a draft proposal to revive the deal. Tehran offered its response, which the bloc described as ‘reasonable’.
The United States took several weeks to offer its response to Iran’s comments, which is currently under review in Iran.
Amir-Abdollahian said Iran is serious about the conclusion of a lasting agreement, adding that an agreement would not be out of reach if the US acts ‘realistically’ and the present text is reinforced.
‘Our purpose is the conclusion of a good, strong, and lasting agreement,’ he stressed, urging the opposite side to show realism and pragmatism.
Iran says it will give an answer to the US.
The Iranian foreign minister also hit out at the UN nuclear agency, urging it to stick to its ‘technical duty’, and drop the ‘political behaviour’ towards Iran.
The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has accused Iran of non-cooperation, a charge Tehran has vehemently rejected as ‘baseless’.
Iran has on several occasions reminded the agency of its technical duties, warning it against operating under the influence of the Israeli regime.
On Tuesday, the spokesman for the Atomic Energy Organisation of Iran (AEOI) described the IAEA demands as ‘excessive’, saying they cannot be implemented due to sanctions.
‘We consider the IAEA’s demands excessive, because their implementation is impossible due to sanctions,’ Behrouz Kamalvandi said.
Meanwhile, the top Iranian diplomat noted that the country would inform the European Union’s coordinator of the talks about Iran’s position concerning the American response once ‘we have finalised our examination’ of the text.
Amir-Abdollahian said he conveyed a message on behalf of ‘one of the European leaders’ for Russia concerning the issue of Ukraine.
‘Some ideas have been put forward towards conclusion of the Ukraine war. We talked with the Russian foreign minister about humanitarian issues too,’ he said.
Russia began a ‘special military operation’ in Ukraine on February 24. In line with what Russian President Vladimir Putin has specified, the operation is aimed at ‘demilitarisation’ of the Donetsk and Lugansk republics in eastern Ukraine, which are collectively known as the Donbass region.
The two republics broke away from Ukraine in 2014 after refusing to recognise a Western-backed Ukrainian government that had overthrown a democratically-elected Russia-friendly administration.
Iran has often expressed its readiness to act as an honest broker in any talks aimed at bringing an end to the conflict.
The top Iranian diplomat also said the issue of Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant and prisoners of war were discussed between the two sides on Wednesday.
He said the Islamic Republic is ready to cooperate with Russia in establishing security at the nuclear plant.
Amir-Abdollahian said he also discussed the status of bilateral relations with Lavrov, including Iran’s commercial, economic, transit, defensive, and security relations with Russia.
‘We are pleased that the countries’ relations are progressing in the correct direction,’ the Iranian official said.
‘We are prepared for expansion of the economic cooperation using the available capacities,’ he said, adding that the countries had ample capacity for development of their bilateral ties.
The Iranian official also said a roadmap devising the path ahead of the countries’ strategic relations would be implemented ‘in the near future’ following ratification by the nations’ respective parliaments.
Amir-Abdollahian finally addressed the issue of the regional countries and the predicaments that were faced by some.
Iran and Russia see eye to eye concerning supporting Iraq and reinforcing the Arab country’s stability, he said, welcoming the Iraqi religious authorities’ recent intervention that helped restore stability and security in the Arab country.
Concerning Afghanistan, Amir-Abollahian reiterated Tehran’s support for formation of an all-inclusive government there that would draw on all of the country’s various groupings.
The foreign ministers also addressed the issue of Syria, voicing determination to work towards resolution of the country’s crisis through the Astana format of 2017, a framework aimed at defusing the crisis, which has Iran, Russia, and Turkey as its guarantors.
Turning to the issue of Yemen, Amir-Abdollahian said Iran was of the opinion that a return of peace and stability to the impoverished country hinged on continuation of the truce that was announced there earlier this year, complete removal of the Saudi Arabia-led blockade of the country, and taking place of intra-Yemeni dialogue.
For his part, Lavrov said Russia backed the revival of the nuclear deal and complete elimination of the sanctions.
He also mentioned his discussions with Amir-Abdollahian about Syria, reiterating the Iranian official’s remarks about consensus between Tehran and Moscow about the implementation of the Astana format towards a resolution of the Arab country’s woes.
Iran, Lavrov said, was prepared to help solve the problems facing Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant and the areas that surrounded it.
Zaporizhzhia is the largest nuclear power plant in Europe and among the 10 largest in the world. Russian forces seized the plant soon after Moscow launched its military operation in the ex-Soviet country. Ukraine accuses Russia of storing heavy weapons in the plant. Moscow denies the allegation.
The plant has come under fire repeatedly in recent weeks. Both Ukraine and Russia accuse each other of targeting the facility, which on Thursday sparked fires in the ash pits of a nearby coal power station that disconnected the plant from the power grid.
Elsewhere in his remarks, Lavrov said work was underway on the Russo-Iranian strategic relations’ roadmap which was going through ‘its final stage’.
Russian foreign minister also announced that the Iranian and Russian payment systems of Shetab and Mir would be connected ‘in the near future,’ saying the countries had discussed the prospect on the central bank governor level.

  • Russia’s UN Ambassador Vasily Nebenzya has called on the US to ‘return the money stolen from the Afghan people’ rather than demanding others to contribute more to fund the reconstruction of war-torn Afghanistan.

‘It is you who must pay for your own mistakes,’ Nebenzya said on Tuesday, addressing the US Permanent Representative to the UN Linda Thomas-Greenfield, who claimed during a Security Council (UNSC) meeting on Afghanistan that Russia contributed too little to funding the rebuilding of a country ruined in 20 years of war and occupation by the US and its allies.
‘And, for starters, it is necessary to return the money stolen from the Afghan people back to them,’ the Russian envoy said. ‘We have been helping and will help Afghanistan. And we suggest that you focus on paying the bills to the Afghan people for the 20 years of your pointless occupation, which destroyed Afghanistan and which put its people on the brink of survival.’
Mockingly rebuking the remarks made by his American counterpart, Nebenzya said, ‘From the long-winded speculations of our US colleagues, this could be perceived as a call to Russia and China to pay for the restoration of Afghanistan. Allegedly, it is the US and its allies who are paying for everything, while all that Russia and China only do is just empty talk.
‘The cynicism of such claims is simply shocking,’ he said, pointing out that, ‘We are being called upon to pay for restoring the country whose economy was effectively destroyed by the 20-year-long occupation by the US and NATO,’ referring to the US-led military alliance, which participated in the occupation of Afghanistan.
‘Instead of admitting its own mistakes and trying to fix them, we are being accused of being unwilling to pay for someone else’s bill,’ Nebenzya said. ‘It is an interesting proposal.’
The remarks came after the US President Joe Biden administration declared earlier this month that it did not plan to release billions of dollars in frozen Afghan government assets anytime soon, invoking alleged concerns that the funds could end up in the hands of ‘terrorists’.