Russia will not back US efforts to change Iran deal, Lavrov says

Russia will not back US efforts to change Iran deal, Lavrov says
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Russia’s chief diplomat said Monday that Moscow will not back efforts by the United States to change the Iran nuclear deal.

Foreign minister Sergei Lavrov also said that a collapse of the deal, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), could negatively impact any conversations with North Korea about its nuclear pursuits.

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Lavrov’s remarks, reported by Reuters and other outlets, came after President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump: 'I will not let Iran have nuclear weapons' Rocket attack hits Baghdad's Green Zone amid escalating tensions: reports Buttigieg on Trump tweets: 'I don't care' MORE late last week waived nuclear sanctions against Iran for what his administration said would be the last time. Trump said in a statement on Friday that the decision was only meant to allow more time “to secure our European allies’ agreement to fix the terrible flaws of the Iran nuclear deal.” 

“We will not support what the United States is trying to do, changing the wording of the agreement, incorporating things that will be absolutely unacceptable for Iran,” Lavrov said at a news conference on Monday. 

Trump’s decision to again waive sanctions also comes amid high tensions over North Korea’s nuclear and ballistic missile program. The U.S. has tried to secure Moscow’s help in convincing Pyongyang to end its nuclear pursuits. 

“If the deal is put aside and Iran is told, ‘you keep up with your obligations or we will impose sanctions again’, then you have to see it from North Korea’s point of view,” Lavrov said. 

“They are being promised that sanctions will be lifted if they give up their nuclear program. They will give it up, but no one will lift the sanctions against Pyongyang,” he said. 

Trump has been a fierce critic of the deal brokered by the Obama administration in 2015, which he and other critics say emboldens Tehran. Trump has repeatedly threatened to cancel the agreement if it is not strengthened, causing U.S. allies like Britain and France to urge him to keep it intact.

The deal reached by six world powers and Iran offered sanctions relief in exchange for limits on Tehran’s nuclear program.

In October, Trump refused to certify the deal, saying it is not in the national interest. He stopped short of scrapping the agreement, however.