US President Donald Trump should keep in mind that the Iranian deal is a result of many years of work and the efforts of many countries, not just the US, Russia’s former envoy to Washington, Sergey Kislyak, told reporters on the sidelines of the Valdai Forum in Sochi on Tuesday.
“When it comes to Iran and the Iranian nuclear deal, I think that’s something we’ve invested many, many years into,” Kislyak said, adding that he personally spent four years taking part in negotiating the agreement.
“I know how difficult it was. … And I think the ability of all the countries to come to the closure of this agreement was spectacular. And it would be very disappointing if it falls apart.”
The deal, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), was originally signed in 2015 by the “P5+1” group of the UN Security Council (China, France, Germany, Russia, the UK, and the US) and the European Union.
Last week, President Trump decided not to recertify the nuclear deal, but stopped short of quitting the US part of the deal altogether. Instead, he expressed the need to fix what he described as flaws in the agreement.
The president’s actions and the stance of Congress, “which is not very favorable toward any deals with Iran” might jeopardize the landmark agreement, which would be a “very negative development,” Kislyak warned. Russia hopes that the situation will not get to the point when Washington leaves the deal altogether, but such a scenario cannot be ruled out, the diplomat added.
“What President Trump said on their new policy toward Iran might jeopardize the implementation of the deal and it would threaten strategic stability,” Kislyak said.
Veteran diplomat Sergey Kislyak headed the Russian embassy in the US for nine years from 2008 onward. He recently became the target of a barrage of accusations, alleging that he was Moscow’s “shadowy spymaster” after his meetings with advisers to Donald Trump when he was president-elect.
The ongoing row between Moscow and Washington and the seizure of Russian diplomatic property in the US show “another face of the United States, which we need to take into account now,” the diplomat said.
“It’s unacceptable and certainly it’s shameful, another shameful action by the United States. Because it’s our property, our diplomatic property. By seizing our property, the United States has violated its own obligation. It’s unheard of for relations between civilized countries,” Kislyak said.
The diplomatic row between Moscow and Washington started with the expulsion of 35 Russian embassy staff by outgoing President Barack Obama in late December 2016, as well as the closure of two diplomatic compounds in Washington DC and Maryland. The spat went continued with Donald Trump assuming office, as this summer the US administration slapped a fresh round of sanctions on Russia.
The move prompted Moscow to force Washington to reduce its personnel in Russia by 755 staff, to make it equal to the number of Russian diplomatic staff in the US. More hostile actions followed in September, when the US shut down the Russian Consulate-General in San Francisco, as well as the trade missions in Washington and New York. The most recent flashpoint came earlier this month, when the US removed Russian flags from the seized compounds.
The move prompted an angry reaction in Moscow, with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov calling it “unacceptable.” The US charge d’affaires in Russia was summoned to the Foreign Ministry over the flag issue and handed a note of protest.