MOSCOW — Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Monday stressed that Moscow would not back changes to the nuclear deal with Iran, after US President Donald Trump last week said Washington would withdraw from the accord this year unless its terms were changed.
“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, according to a translation by Reuters.
Lavrov repeatedly attacked the US at the press conference, accusing Washington of issuing ultimatums and failing to recognize “the reality of the emerging multipolar world.”
Lavrov said the past year had not been easy from a foreign policy perspective as he took questions on Syria, Ukraine, the Korean peninsula and other global issues, in a diplomatic roundup of 2017.
“Unfortunately, our American colleagues and their allies still want to do business solely on the basis of issuing ultimatums and do not want to listen to the views of other centers of world politics,” he said when asked about Trump’s position on the Iran nuclear deal.
“In fact they do not want to recognize the reality of the emerging multipolar world,” Lavrov said.
“[The Americans] resort to methods that are, largely, questionable and unscrupulous, in order to contain their competitors,” Lavrov said.
“They use a number of these methods, from deploying a global missile defense system to unilateral sanctions, to the extraterritorial use of their own legislation or threats to resolve any international problems solely according to their own scenario.”
Lavrov also said threats coming from Washington in 2017 had “seriously aggravated” tensions in different parts of the world, including in North Korea.
He noted that if the US reneged on the previously agreed-upon deal with Iran, attempts to negotiate with North Korea over its nuclear program would become harder.
“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.
As Trump prepares to mark a year in power, Lavrov said the actions of the current US administration were in some cases “more assertive” than under Barack Obama, “despite Trump’s line during the election campaign.”
And Lavrov said Moscow “understands” the anger of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, who earlier denounced White House peace efforts as the “slap of the century.”
“We completely understand the emotions the Palestinians currently have. For years they made concessions without receiving anything in return,” Lavrov said.
“We constantly hear that the US is about to unveil an important deal [on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict] that would satisfy all sides. We have not seen this kind of document,” Lavrov added.
Palestinian leaders on Monday held a meeting called after Trump’s December 6 recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. Palestinians want the city as the capital of their future state and Abbas has said Trump’s stance means the US can no longer be the mediator in peace talks with Israel.
In December, Abbas sent delegations to China and Russia to ask them to take on a greater role in the peace process with Israel.
Lavrov said Russia welcomed the Palestinians because “they were ready for direct talks with the Israelis without preconditions.” The Palestinians have rejected numerous calls by Israeli leaders to reenter peace talks without preconditions.