Russia Slams U.S. Demands for Iran; Germany Seeks More Detail

Russia Iran
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov at his a news conference in Moscow Monday. (Reuters/Sergei Karpukhin)

Russia spoke out strongly Monday against the U.S. push for modifying a nuclear agreement with Iran, while Germany said it would seek more detail on what the U.S. wants and analyze the situation with its European partners.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov warned that Moscow won’t support the U.S. demand for changes in the 2015 nuclear deal with world powers that saw Iran accept curbs on its nuclear program in exchange for lifting international sanctions.

President Donald Trump on Friday kept the accord alive by extending sanctions waivers, but warned that the U.S. would pull out of the deal in a few months unless “terrible flaws” in the deal are fixed.

Lavrov called the new U.S. demands to Iran “deplorable,” saying they raise doubts about Washington’s ability to observe international agreements.

He particularly noted that the dismantling of the Iran nuclear deal would discourage North Korea from negotiating any future agreement to abandon its nuclear and missile programs.

“We will not support what the U.S. is trying to do — to change the text of the agreement to include things, which are absolutely unacceptable for Iran,” Lavrov said at a news conference in Moscow.

Pres. Trump said he would work with European allies to remove so-called sunset clauses that allow Iran to gradually resume advanced nuclear activities in the next decade. He paired Friday’s concession with other, targeted sanctions on Iran for human rights abuses and ballistic missile development.

Iran warned Saturday that it won’t accept any changes to the nuclear deal. The Europeans have indicated they are willing to discuss the matter with Washington, but have shown little enthusiasm with Pres. Trump’s hard line.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s spokesman, Steffen Seibert, stressed Monday that Berlin stands by the nuclear deal. He said that Germany would analyze the situation with its European partners.

German Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Adebahr said officials would sit down with the Americans and “see what goal and request exactly Mr. Trump’s comments contain.” She said that Pres. Trump’s statement appeared to have been directed “first and foremost to his own Congress.”

The 2015 nuclear pact with Iran involved the U.S., Britain, France, Germany, China and Russia.

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