By Julia Sveshnikova for Al-Monitor. Any opinions expressed are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iran Business News.
The European Council on Foreign Relations once called Russia and Iran the “power couple” of the Middle East. That was two years ago, and it appears they’re still making the relationship work.
On Jan. 10, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov (pictured) held a meeting with his Iranian counterpart, Mohammad Javad Zarif, as part of the latter’s visits to Russia and the European Union to discuss conditions of the Iran nuclear deal (the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or JCPOA). These meetings took place right before US President Donald Trump’s deadline Jan. 12 to decide if the United States is going to uphold the 2015 deal.
According to a press release from the Russian Foreign Ministry, Moscow and Tehran reaffirmed their adherence to the JCPOA and stated that “attempts to undermine its consistent implementation by Washington will have a negative impact for the regional security and stability, as well as the value of multilateral diplomacy as applicable to the international nonproliferation regime.”
Prior to his Jan. 12 announcement agreeing to continue waiving sanctions against Iran, Trump spoke to French President Emmanuel Macron, to US allies in Israel and Saudi Arabia, and to his national security team. Trump’s previous foreign policy decisions have proved that even when everything and everyone argues against taking a certain radical step, the United States may still go for it. This time, however, Trump did what was expected of him — he recertified the deal but cautioned it would not happen again.
Indeed, despite Trump’s fervor to sink or renegotiate the deal, the recurring decision appears tricky even for him. First, instead of taking responsibility when he refused Oct. 12 to certify that Iran was complying with the deal, he passed the ball to Congress to decide within 60 days whether to amend the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act (INARA) of 2015. (INARA requires the president to certify Iran’s compliance every 90 days.)