MOSCOW — The foreign ministers of Russia and Iran held talks in Moscow on Monday, a meeting that had been expected to focus on the implementation of the nuclear deal between Tehran and world powers, as well as international efforts to mediate the conflict in Syria.
The nuclear deal — known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action — which lifts sanctions against Iran in exchange for curbs on its nuclear program, has led to a series of diplomatic moves aimed at achieving some sort of breakthrough in Syria.
Russia also sees the nuclear deal as clearing the way for delivery of air defense missiles to Iran and for signing new contracts to build nuclear power plants there.
At the start of Monday’s talks, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and his Iranian counterpart, Mohammad Javad Zarif, noted that the deal provides new opportunities for both countries.
Lavrov said that he expects the JCPOA to be put into effect in the near future, according to the Iranian semi-offical Fars News, citing the Russian Sputnik agency.
“We are pleased with the adoption of a Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, and expect that the plan, as provided by the UN Security Council-approved resolution, will come into force in the coming weeks,” Larvov said.
The JCPOA was signed in Vienna on July 14 and approved by the UN Security Council a week later.
Last week, a senior Russian diplomat denied claims that an Iranian general has also visited Moscow in violation of United Nations sanctions.
Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said that Moscow assured Washington that Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani, the commander of the elite Quds Force in Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, hadn’t visited Moscow.
Fox News has reported that Soleimani visited Moscow last month for meetings with President Vladimir Putin and his defense minister.
US officials have said Washington was trying to determine if Soleimani had traveled to Moscow in violation of the UN travel ban. Soleimani has been on the UN sanctions blacklist since 2007, which also requires that all countries freeze his overseas assets.
Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.