Russia at UN warns collapse of Iran deal would be 'alarming'


Russia on Thursday warned at the UN Security Council that the collapse of the Iranian nuclear deal would send an "alarming" message to the world and compromise efforts to persuade North Korea to scrap its nuclear arsenal.

Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told a council meeting on non-proliferation that the 2015 deal known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) was a major diplomatic achievement.

"Clearly the failure of the JCPOA, especially as a result of one of the parties ... would be an alarming message for the entire international community architecture, including the prospects for dealing with the nuclear problem on the Korean peninsula," said Lavrov.

President Donald Trump on Friday agreed to again waive U.S. nuclear-related sanctions on Iran, but demanded that U.S. lawmakers and European allies fix the "disastrous flaws" in the deal. Washington is concerned that the deal, thrashed out over 12 years of talks, does nothing to punish Iran over its ballistic missile programme, interference in regional conflicts or human rights abuses at home.

Russia, one of the six world powers along with the United States that signed the deal with Iran, dismissed U.S. concerns as politically-motivated.

"We cannot for the benefit of political agendas of certain countries abandon a genuine achievement of international diplomacy," said Lavrov.

At a Moscow press conference this week, Lavrov said that North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un will not agree to give up nuclear weapons in exchange for lifting sanctions if the same arrangement with Tehran collapses.

"If this arrangement is taken away and Iran is told: you remain within the framework of your obligations and we will re-impose sanctions – then put yourself in North Korea's place," Lavrov said.

In his address to the council, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said the nuclear deal was being "questioned" and stressed it was in the world's interest that the agreement "be preserved."    (AFP)

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