Scrapping the Iran nuclear deal would threaten the stability of the Middle East, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Thursday, as his country coordinated closely with Tehran on efforts to preserve the agreement.
The remaining participants in the deal must work to "enable the preservation of this important document for regional stability," Lavrov told reporters in Moscow, days after U.S. President Donald Trump pulled his country out of the deal.
Russia, which has strong relations with Iran, was a key broker in clinching the 2015 agreement designed to stop Iran from building a nuclear bomb.
Iran is ready to "fulfill all its obligations" under the nuclear deal, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said after meeting with his counterpart in Tehran, according to comments carried by state media.
"The Russian side highlighted its commitment to preserving the agreement," the statement added.
Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday expressed his "deep concern" over Donald Trump's withdrawal from the 2015 deal.
Earlier in the day Ryabkov said Russia's "European partners" should also work to keep the deal together.
Another sponsor of the agreement, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, has used the U.S. withdrawal to suggest that Europe must learn to be more self-sufficient.
"Europe has to take its fate into its own hands," she said, speaking in the western city of Aachen at an event celebrating European unity.
However, despite its withdrawal from the nuclear deal, the U.S. says it will not stop funding intense International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) inspections in Iran, a U.S. official said Thursday.
Washington has been a major financial contributor to the IAEA's efforts to make sure that Iran does not develop nuclear weapons.
"The United States will continue to support robust implementation of IAEA inspections in Iran to the full extent of the IAEA's authority," an official at the U.S. mission to the IAEA in Vienna told dpa.
The IAEA is present in Iran around the clock. Its specialists in Vienna search millions of pieces of Iran-related information each month for suspicious developments.
The IAEA spends 9.2 million euros (10.9 million dollars) on this work per year, of which 4.1 million euros are currently funded by the agency's regular budget. The rest comes from voluntary payments by member countries.
The U.S. covers about a quarter of the regular budget and has volunteered an additional 3 million dollars for Iran inspections since 2015, the U.S. official said.
Trump pulled out of the 2015 pact and promised to reinstate U.S. sanctions because he does not believe that the agreement prevents Iran from getting atomic weapons.
The other major powers involved in the deal — Britain, Germany, France, Russia and China — have promised to uphold the deal that has forced Iran to scale down its nuclear activities in return for sanctions relief.
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