Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s news conference to sum up the high-level meetings week at the 76th session of the UN General Assembly, New York, September 25, 2021

SEPTEMBER 27, 2021

Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s news conference to sum up the high-level meetings week at the 76th session of the UN General Assembly, New York, September 25, 2021

https://www.mid.ru/en/foreign_policy/news/-/asset_publisher/cKNonkJE02Bw/content/id/4867149

Question: Which opportunities and risk factors does the new Taliban’s Islamic Emirate in Afghanistan present? Does Russia fear that the presence of Taliban could somehow feed Islamic extremism in the region? If so, what can be done?

Sergey Lavrov: Of course, Afghanistan is now on everyone’s mind. We believe, and we did believe from the outset, that what has happened there is a reality. Unfortunately, the hasty pull-out, let’s call it this way, by the United States and other NATO countries of their troops was carried out without any consideration of the consequences. As you are aware, many weapons were left behind in Afghanistan. We all need to see to it that these weapons do not serve any unconstructive purposes.

The reality on the ground is based on statements made by the Taliban who proclaimed their commitment to fighting extremism and terrorism, including ISIS and Al-Qaeda, not to project instability on their neighbours. They committed themselves to respecting women’s rights and to creating an inclusive government. You know all this. What matters the most at the moment is that they fulfil their promises.

The first step to form a transitory government structure fails to reflect the whole gamut of the Afghan society in its ethnic, religious and political diversity. We remain engaged with the Taliban, and these contacts have been continuing for several years now. We are doing this, inter alia, within the expanded troika of Russia, the United States, China and Pakistan. Only recently, Russian, Chinese and Pakistani representatives travelled to Doha, and after that they visited Kabul where they engaged with the Taliban, as well as with representatives of the secular authorities. I am referring to former President Hamid Karzai and former Head of the High Council for National Reconciliation Abdullah Abdullah. These contacts primarily focused on the need to form a genuinely representative government structure. The Taliban claim to be moving in this direction, and the current architecture is only temporary. What matters the most is to make sure that they keep the promises that they made in public. For us, the top priority is precisely what you just mentioned: it is unacceptable that extremism spills over into neighbouring countries, and the terrorist threat must not persist on Afghan soil. We will do everything we can to support the Taliban in their determination, as you have said, to fight ISIS and other terrorist groups, and to try to make sure that this determination paves the way to some practical progress.

Question: Does Russia consider easing or lifting its national sanctions against the Taliban members who become part of the new Afghan government in order to facilitate contacts with them? What position will Russia take during UN talks on easing or lifting sanctions against the Taliban?

Sergey Lavrov: As things stand at the moment, nothing is restraining or hindering our contacts with the Taliban. Moreover, the UN Security Council sanctions, as set forth in the corresponding resolutions, are not preventing us from engaging in such contacts. On the contrary, UN Security Council resolutions stipulate the need to advance a political process, and without working together with the Taliban this is impossible.

We have been engaged in contacts with this movement for some years now, and these contacts have been primarily geared towards ensuring the safety ofr Russian nationals, facilitating intra-Afghan reconciliation and political process. I have not heard any suggestions within the UN Security Council about the need to ease or lift international sanctions at one of the forthcoming meetings. There is no need for this for us to be able to engage with the Taliban movement at this stage.

We all expect the Taliban to honour all the good-minded promises they made. For this reason, we will see whether the terrorist and drug trafficking threats are actually eliminated.

Question: The UN Secretary-General has warned of disastrous consequences of a putative economic collapse in Afghanistan. What do you think about the idea to unfreeze Afghan assets held by international organisations?

It appears from your remarks that your policy is to judge the Taliban by their deeds. In what way does the Taliban ideology differ from that of other Islamic groups in other parts of the world, such as the groups in Syria, which you are opposing and showering with bombs?

Sergey Lavrov: Syria, as you may know, is where the seat of terrorism is located. Practically the entire Syrian territory has been liberated, but the so-called de-escalation zone in Idlib province is under the sway of Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, an offspring of Jabhat al-Nusra. All the UN Security Council resolutions point out the nature of these terrorist organisations. I see no problem here from the point of view of destroying the terrorists in Syria.

We are holding talks with our Turkish partners, who signed with us, a couple of years ago now, a special agreement whereby they undertook to fight terrorists in the Idlib de-escalation zone and to separate them from armed groups that are not terrorist ones and to cooperate with the Turkish military. In just a few days from now, President of Russia Vladimir Putin will have yet another meeting with President of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdogan. The presidents will thoroughly analyse how this commitment is being implemented. It is being implemented at a rather slow pace. This is obvious.

As for the Taliban and comparisons between them and other groups, we cannot divide the terrorists into good guys and bad guys. There is a sufficient number of exemptions from sanctions imposed on the Taliban. This has been made on purpose to enable [the international community] to have a dialogue with them. It means that the UN Security Council recognises the Taliban as an inalienable part of Afghan society, which, for Syria, Jabhat al-Nusra and Hayat Tahrir al-Sham are not. This is what makes the difference.

We will induce those who have seized power in Kabul following the flight of the foreign contingents to behave in a civilised way.

We have mentioned the unfreezing of the assets. We think that this matter should be given a practical consideration from the positions you have mentioned in quoting the UN Secretary-General.

Question: The Taliban Government have decided on the candidacies for their ambassador to Russia. Will Russia be prepared to issue an agreement to people proposed by the Taliban?

Sergey Lavrov: We have no information of anyone applying to us for an agrement. Serving in Moscow today is the ambassador appointed by the previous government. No one is urging an international recognition of the Taliban. We will proceed precisely from this principle if and when we receive a request regarding the appointment of a new ambassador.

Question: We have heard US President Joe Biden’s statement. He said that the period of relentless war has ended, and that the era of relentless diplomacy has been ushered in. Do you believe this?

What about Russia’s diplomatic property? Has there been any progress?

Even some of the members of the delegation had problems with their visas, let alone the fact that there was a danger that the Russian delegation would not be allowed into the UN General Assembly because of the vaccination requirements, with vaccines that were approved in the United States. Are they just trying to annoy us whenever they can?

Sergey Lavrov: I do not think that this is an attempt to annoy us in any way. Most likely they are just a bit at a loss over the resumption of in-person UN General Assembly meetings. I cannot blame the New York authorities for being overly cautious. This is a serious event, and a lot of people come here from all around the world. There are quite a few different variants of the virus already, so safety measures do not hurt.

It is another question, as you have so rightly put it, that we do not accept any attempts to discriminate against vaccines that are not registered in the United States but have proven time and again to be effective. Sputnik V is a case in point. Several EU countries, for example, Hungary and Slovakia, have approved our vaccines, and this should serve as an example for other EU and NATO members.

As for visas for our delegation, apart from the epidemiological situation, the delay in the granting of visas was obviously caused by political considerations. We have seen through this. A number of our employees have yet to obtain their visas, including State Duma members who are part of the delegation. We will see to it that the UN Secretariat leadership fulfils its duties as to ensuring compliance with all the provisions of the agreement between the UN and the United States, the headquarters host country. Instances of flagrant violation of this agreement and repeated failures to comply with the UN headquarters host country commitments have been piling up, including the confiscation of diplomatic property, as you have just mentioned. The UN Committee on Relations with the Host Country has said that this is unacceptable and wrong. The Secretary-General should have launched arbitration proceedings against the actions by the United States several years ago. We had a meeting yesterday, and I reminded him of this fact. I was glad that his Legal Counsel, Miguel de Serpa Soares, was present at this meeting, since it is his duty to initiate these steps. They have been long overdue.

United States President Joe Biden said that the United States will no longer use force to change regimes abroad. “Never say never,” as the saying goes. We have seen how the Donald Trump administration pulled out of the Iranian nuclear deal that was concluded by the Barack Obama administration. Now that talks on fully restoring the JCPOA to settle the situation around the Iranian nuclear programme are underway, one of the questions the Iranians are asking the Americans is whether the agreement to restore this plan can include a clause binding future administrations to respect it? The Americans say that they cannot do this, since this is how their system works. International law is one thing, but their law is a nose of wax, and can be twisted about any way they so desire.

United States President Joe Biden said that an era of “relentless diplomacy” has been ushered in. This means that the Americans will seek to impose on other countries what they deem right for them by other means. This could include colour revolutions. They do not require any use of force, but are equally destructive. Just look at Libya, Iraq, Syria, and Ukraine, our neighbour.

We want the United States to make the next step and move beyond the commitment not to use force for reshaping other countries by actually refraining from doing this altogether. They must recognise that we are all different. We have different cultural, civilisational roots, but we share the same planet and must respect each other.

Question: According to our information, preparations for Under Secretary for Political Affairs Victoria’s Nuland’s visit to Moscow are underway. Where do these talks stand at this point? Can you give us a timeline for the visit? What does Moscow expect to receive in response to the temporary lifting of restrictions from someone who is on Russia’s black list?

Sergey Lavrov: If you have sources of information that let you know about this, I encourage you to ask them this question. The Foreign Ministry and the US State Department are working on a number of contacts. This is not the only matter under discussion.

When both parties decide on a date for contact to take place in order to discuss a specific issue, we will make a corresponding announcement.

Question: I have a question about the JCPOA. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has said that swift action is needed, because we are running out of time. Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian said yesterday that they were ready for that. They appear to be receiving mixed signals from the United States, but they should come up with an agreement soon. You were involved in making this deal happen. As a negotiator, have you any idea what will happen if the United States does not return to the agreement and Iran continues its nuclear programme? What is the worst-case scenario?

Sergey Lavrov: Iran is not doing anything illegal, because it is complying with the Non-Proliferation Treaty and an additional protocol to a comprehensive safeguards agreement. Iran is not complying with most of its obligations included in the JCPOA which are now not binding, because the Americans have destroyed the agreement.

The issue is about restoring it in full so that Iran has no reason to make exceptions to its commitments. The IAEA, including in the person of its Director General, is in contact with the Iranians. They have a complete picture of what is happening there. They are not being denied access to the work that Iran is doing as part of its nuclear programme. The IAEA has no reason to believe that the 2015 findings to the effect that there were no signs of the nuclear programme being re-oriented towards military needs have become outdated. They have no reason to revise these findings. They speak about this explicitly.

Of course, we want the talks on the full restoration of the JCPOA to resume as soon as possible. But, first, the government in Iran has just been formed. They say they will need a week or two (hopefully not more) to put together their negotiating team. There have been personnel changes. Second, when the United States withdrew from the JCPOA, Iran, for over a year, had been conscientiously complying  with its commitments under this document in hope that the United States would come to its senses and return to the deal. Of all people, our counterparts in Washington are not in a position to say that time is up. Indeed, it was carried out by the administration which is now gone, but this is the legacy of the current administration, especially since the JCPOA is its brainchild. It is only fair that it deliver bold action in addressing all related issues.

There are also sanctions that the US has illegally imposed on Iran, allegedly for violating the JCPOA. But the sanctions concern not just Iran. They have also imposed sanctions on everyone who carry out legal trade with Iran, including the supply of military products, which are no longer subject to a ban. These sanctions must be lifted as part of the reinstatement of the JCPOA. And Iran’s trading partners across all areas of commercial exchange must not be affected by America’s unilateral move.

Question: Will Iran’s economy collapse if the JCPOA is not restored?

Sergey Lavrov: We are not even considering scenarios like that. There is serious hope and cautious optimism that we will be able to achieve a result. At least everyone wants it, including the United States and Iran.

Question: The calm in the northwest of Syria has changed with Russia’s intense airstrikes in recent weeks, particularly ahead of the summit between President Erdogan and President Putin. Why is Russia stepping up its attacks just ahead of this summit?

And another question on Syria as well. Is there an agreement or consensus between Russia and the US following the meeting between the Russian Deputy Foreign Minister and US National Security Council Coordinator Brett McGurk, which took place in Geneva? Thank you.

Sergey Lavrov: We are using force in northwestern Syria in conformity with the requirements contained in UN Security Council Resolution 2254, which provides for an uncompromising struggle against terrorism in Syria.

I have mentioned that there was a special agreement on Idlib between President of Russia Vladimir Putin and President of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Our Turkish colleagues have committed themselves to separating the normal and sensible opposition forces from the terrorists. This should have been done long ago. So far, this has not happened. There is slow progress, but the threats of terrorism from the militants in the Idlib de-escalation zone are constantly renewed. These people are attacking the positions of the Syrian army and have repeatedly tried to launch strike drones to attack the Russian Khmeimim Air Base.

Our Turkish friends are well aware that we will not put up with this behaviour and with these militants’ attitude to the role performed by the Turkish military in the Idlib de-escalation zone. We will have detailed discussions as part of preparations for the presidential meeting. The September 29 summit will focus on ways to achieve what we have agreed upon and prevent the terrorists from ruling the roost.

As for contacts with the US regarding the right bank of the Euphrates, they are held periodically. We draw their attention to the fact that the US presence in Syria is illegitimate, to the outrageous situation in the 55-kilometre zone called Al-Tanf, which they have occupied, and to the situation at the Rukban camp located in the US-controlled territory. This is a long story.

The contacts taking place between the foreign ministries and the security councils are mostly about the fact that the Americans are present [in Syria] illegally, illegitimately, but they are there.  This is the reality. Given their tendency to fire all their guns with or without reason, we are negotiating the so-called deconflicting mechanism with them.   It is working. Let me draw your attention to the fact that it is functioning despite the legal bans on contacts between the militaries imposed by the US Congress. Not so long ago, the heads of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff officially announced that this was unreasonable and that the bans on military contacts should be lifted. I think this will do good both to the deconflicting process in Syria and our further arms dialogue as a whole.

Question: Turkey has expressed concerns about the voting in Crimea in the recent State Duma elections. This is despite the fact that Russia has provided humanitarian assistance for COVID-19 to Turkey, as well as military cooperation. My question is: could you address the imbalance, what is your analysis of the imbalance in relations?

Sergey Lavrov: Turkey was not the only one to voice “concerns” or “denounce” the vote in Crimea. I can give you two explanations for this “commotion.” First, five years ago, when the previous State Duma elections were held, no one made any statements of this kind, at least not that strong. Had this been the case, I would have remembered it, but no such thing occurred.

However, now they are pouncing on this issue, including the hectic efforts to convene the so-called Crimea Platform in Kiev, and all the commotion around the election. I think that this is an attempt to divert attention from the fact that Kiev, under President Vladimir Zelensky’s leadership, has shamefully failed to honour its commitments under the Minsk Agreements on overcoming the intra-Ukrainian conflict in the east of the country. It is obvious. The adopted laws have been a de-facto obstacle to granting southeastern Ukraine the status required under the Minsk Agreements.

We drew the attention of our German and French colleagues, as well as the European Union to the fact that their “clients” are negating UN Security Council resolutions, because it was the Security Council that approved the Minsk Agreements. Unfortunately, they are all bashfully looking the other way, while President Vladimir Zelensky understood that all he needed to do was divert attention from his own failures and the fact that the Minsk Agreements were sabotaged. Therefore, they are now playing the Crimean card.

A lack of professionalism in foreign policy is the second reason why they are doing this. Professionals know all too well that the Crimea question is closed once and for all.

Question: My second question is regarding Mali. France has expressed concern about the presence of military contractors from Russia in Mali. They are now being joined by their European allies speaking about this concern. My question is: what is Russia’s position on this?

Sergey Lavrov: I have heard these questions. Foreign Minister of France Jean-Yves Le Drian, and EU’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Josep Borrell, have raised them with me.

Mali currently has a transitional government. Those authorities are undertaking efforts to restore the constitutional order, prepare elections and return to civilian rule. The elections are scheduled to take place in February under the auspices of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the African Union.

Mali’s transitional government has emphasised its commitment to international obligations and is combatting terrorism. It has called upon a private Russian military company because, to my understanding, France intends to substantially reduce its military presence there, and these troops were tasked with fighting terrorists entrenched in the north, in an area called Kidal. But they did not succeed, and terrorist are still in control there.

The Malian authorities considered their own capabilities insufficient without support from abroad, but those who had promised to eliminate terrorism in this country decided to draw down their presence. So they went to a Russian private military company. We have nothing to do with this. This activity is legal and consists of a relationship between the host country, which is a legitimate government recognised by everyone as a legitimate transitional structure, on the one hand, and those offering their services as foreign experts.

Let me emphasise that apart from private military companies, the Russian state has been making its own contribution to ensuring Mali’s defence capability and combat readiness for eliminating the terrorist threat and other threats. We do this by supplying military equipment as part of our assistance. We also work within the UN Security Council to devise the best approaches to further peacebuilding efforts.

I do not see any reason to question this. Yesterday I had a meeting with Mali’s Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Minister, Abdoulaye Diop, who talked to the press on this matter. There are no questions here. In fact, the problem lies elsewhere. Our colleagues from the European Union, as Josep Borrell told me, are asking us to stop working in Africa altogether, because this is “their place.” It would be better for the EU and the Russian Federation to align their actions in fighting terrorism not only in Mali, but in the Sahara-Sahelian region in general. Claiming that “they were there first, so we must leave” is, first, an insult to the Bamako government that has invited its foreign partners, and second, it is not the way to treat anyone.

Question: Shortly before the Russian parliamentary elections, the European Parliament adopted a resolution calling on the European Commission to refuse to recognise the results of the vote. Did you discuss this with EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell? Will the EU recognise the results of the Russian State Duma elections?

Sergey Lavrov: We have not heard any assessments from the European Union proper because the European Parliament is not a body that determines EU policy. I spoke about this with Josep Borrell; I quoted some of the assessments made during his remarks in the European Parliament, including the absolutely unacceptable statements that the European Union distinguishes between “the regime” in Moscow and the Russian people.

He made some rather awkward and vague excuses. It was quite obvious that he realised the phrasing was lame at the very least. I hope that was just a phrase, not the idea. This happens. Sometimes we let something slip only to regret it later.

We have no information about anyone officially rejecting the results of our elections, which have just been announced.

Question: France calls for a review of the recent nuclear submarine deal between the United States, Australia and the United Kingdom to verify its compliance with the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). What is your opinion on this matter? What do you generally think of this new triple alliance, which has created such a stir and runs counter to the partnership agreements in NATO and beyond?

Sergey Lavrov: This deal, signed immediately after the flight from Afghanistan, inevitably raises questions from the parties to these alliances. Probably, in addition to a commercial grievance, France is also thinking how reliable these alliances are and how this has increased the relevance of Europe’s strategic autonomy? These are big questions for the Western camp, and they have to address them.

We are not going to interfere in these matters. Yet, we might feel the consequences of what is happening there. This may affect our relations with the European Union, may spur the EU’s interest in cooperating with us, in using the obvious geopolitical and geostrategic advantages of being on one huge continent, especially since the global growth centre is shifting towards Asia.

I have discussed this with many participants here who represent the European Union and who do not like what is happening. Especially when the EU says they should “push back against, constrain, and engage” with Russia. I asked Josep Borrell how they were going to “engage with us,” exactly. Do you know what he answered? “Get out of Mali.” That is all there is to this policy, to this triad. That’s what it is worth. I am being honest. I do not think there is a violation of any ethical norms here because they are also talking about this publicly. I am just giving examples to illustrate their way of thinking.

As regards the Non-Proliferation Treaty, this matter is being discussed a lot on the sidelines in Vienna. The IAEA is responsible for the non-proliferation regime and for ensuring that nuclear research is not diverted to military needs. For a submarine, uranium must be enriched to 90 percent. This is weapons-grade uranium. We will probably have to ask for an IAEA expert review.

A similar attempt to develop such submarines by a non-nuclear country was made a few decades ago. The project was eventually scrapped then, and that settled the whole matter. But now, this deal has been signed. If the IAEA confirms it is in line with nuclear safety and non-diversion to military needs, there will be a queue for such submarines.

Question: In the lead up to the high-level week, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres issued a warning that the world might be drawn into a new vastly more dangerous cold war if the US and China fail to mend their completely collapsed relations. He called for the avoidance of a new confrontation at any cost, and also warned that it would be more dangerous than the cold war between the Soviet Union and the United States and dealing with its aftereffects would be much more difficult. What does Russia have to say to these statements?

Sergey Lavrov: Make no mistake, we had this issue on our radar screen even before UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres mentioned it. We see that tensions in China-US relations are escalating. We are aware of who is “playing the first violin” in this not too pleasant turn of events. This worries us. Confrontational schemes do not help the people of our planet to live a normal life: be it the recently announced Indo-Pacific Strategy, which explicitly proclaimed containing China, including in the South China Sea, one of its main goals, or QUAD that was formed as part of these strategies, or, by the same token, the purported AUKUS “triple alliance,” the purpose of which is to help Australia contain the “Chinese threat.”

Yesterday and today, I met with a number of ministers representing ASEAN member countries and asked them how things were going. Talks are underway between China and ASEAN to draft a legally binding code of conduct in the South China Sea. Things are not moving fast, but this is the most reliable way to ensure freedom of navigation and everything else that worries our Western partners to the extent that they keep holding provocative and non-provocative naval manoeuvres and creating anti-Chinese geopolitical schemes. We stand for mutually respectful relations between the great powers that never escalate into a nuclear war. The presidents of Russia and the United States, Vladimir Putin and Joseph Biden, confirmed the unacceptability of this at the Geneva summit. Any kind of war between nuclear powers is unacceptable, because the risks of it escalating into a nuclear conflict are enormous. Humanity has not come up with anything new in this regard. We must talk and strive to find a compromise and get along. As President Trump put it, we must “make a deal.” This is the right expression to use not only in business, but in politics as well. Politics is needed to create a proper environment for normal life, rather than for someone to promote their ambitions, so that everyone agrees that they are “the coolest guy on Earth.” This is obvious to normal people. Great powers must act responsibly with regard to their people and the rest of humanity.

President Putin proposed holding a UN Security Council permanent members’ summit. The pandemic has delayed this work. We have resumed it now. We aim to come to an agreement with our partners from China and the three Western permanent members of the UN Security Council on specific issues which will then be included in the agenda, and on the format of discussions (we may start out online). Talks are the only way to resolve the issues at hand. The five permanent members of the UN Security Council must set an example to other countries.

Question: In connection with the withdrawal of foreign contingents – official and informal mercenaries – from Libya, disputes arose about over whether it would be better to withdraw them only after the elections, upon receipt of an official request from a new government. Some say this should take place before December 24 to ensure fair and legitimate elections. The spokesman for the Presidential Council said today that you highlighted two points at a meeting with Mohammed al-Menfi: the need for a settlement between the Libyan parties and the withdrawal of foreign troops. Does Russia think it should be done before or after the elections?

Sergey Lavrov: Before or after the elections is not a critical matter. Most importantly, the final document of the second International Conference on Libya held in Berlin in June reads as follows: all foreign armed people must leave Libya. Our Turkish colleagues made a reservation saying they had been invited there by the legitimate leadership in the person of the Prime Minister of the Government of National Accord, Fayez al-Sarraj. However, the other part of Libyan society – the Tobruk Parliament – is no less legitimate. Both of these bodies were created under the Skhirat Agreement. The legitimate parliament along with the legitimate Libyan national army invited armed personnel, whom they have on their payroll, to come and join them from abroad. Concurrently, there were people who can be referred to as mercenaries. People are being transferred from Syria (to both sides), Chad and other African countries.

From the outset, the moment it came up in our discussions, we said that we were in favour of doing this. Considering that foreign military forces are on both sides of the Libyan confrontation, we must make sure that they move out in small groups and simultaneously, so as not to create a military advantage on one side at any point in time. A ceasefire has been observed in Libya for over a year now. No one should be tempted to think that they can return to military methods and try to use force to resolve that country’s problems.

Question: Is Russia facilitating the withdrawal of troops from Libya?

Sergey Lavrov: They should deal with this in their 5+5 commission. We are ready to help, but if they continue to address non-priority matters, there will be no elections on December 24, 2021. They have just adopted the legislative framework for the elections. Then the Parliament voted on the legitimacy of Abdul Hamid Dbeibeh’s Government of National Unity. They need to be pushed towards an earnest discussion about how to live on. There are already speculations about whether the current leaders can run for office (reportedly, there was an agreement that they would not participate, but they want to). Our colleagues in the Secretariat are trying to create artificial difficulties when it comes to the format of the UN presence in Libya. They had better concentrate on fulfilling what we agreed on a year ago now. Nobody expected this. They should not be trying to change this to promote someone’s interests or advance hidden agendas.

Question: At what stage are the US-Russia strategic stability talks at the moment? As for nuclear weapons, what is Russia’s reaction to the recent missile launches in North and South Korea? What could work as an incentive for Kim Jong-un to return back to the negotiating table?

Sergey Lavrov: I heard that Pyongyang is sending signals about North Korea’s interest in normalising relations with South Korea. We have always stood for a direct dialogue between the North and the South. However, it was not always supported by the previous US administration, which wanted to control the process. I hope that in the new situation, the Biden administration will be ready to make more constructive steps to encourage the resumption of normal contacts between North and South Korea.

Missile launches don’t help. We noticed that this time, Seoul tried not to over-dramatise. I think this is the right thing to do. Once we begin to resort to public condemnation and strong rhetoric, this significantly reduces our incentives for diplomatic, professional, and calm dialogue. The final agreement can only be reached through confidential and quiet negotiations, rather than mutual recriminations through loudspeakers.

As regards the strategic stability talks with the United States, the first round took place in July. The second is due next week.

Question: As the UN General Assembly is meeting in New York, the Southern District Court in New York has again denied Russian citizen Konstantin Yaroshenko’s appeal. He continues to be held in American dungeons, as does Viktor Bout. There have been occasional reports in the media about their possible exchange for Americans. Whose court is the ball in? How realistic is the exchange scenario?

Sergey Lavrov: It is difficult to make any predictions or promises on behalf of the United States. We have tried many times to change our citizens’ situation by invoking the Council of Europe Convention on Transfer of Sentenced Persons. The United States is a party to this Convention, just as we are. They categorically refuse to hear anything, including our arguments that both Yaroshenko and Bout (as well as a number of others) have been actually lured into a trap by provocations. They have been literally kidnapped, which is against the law. In Bout’s case, the Thai laws were violated – not all procedures were followed; with Yaroshenko, it was Liberia’s. There was also a case where they took Roman Seleznev in the Maldives in a gangster manner – they just put him on an aircraft and he was flown away. Nobody knew anything. Such methods of provoked attacks on our people are being used to achieve something. Either to persuade them to cooperate, or for some other reason. This is unacceptable.

About prisoner exchanges – Presidents Vladimir Putin and Joe Biden touched upon this matter in Geneva, among other things. They agreed that the respective Russian and US security services in charge of this matter will try to negotiate some mutually acceptable options. So far, we haven’t come to any agreement. The United States is only interested in getting its citizens back and does not seem to take our interests very seriously. They are interested in Paul Whelan, who is convicted of espionage. He was caught red-handed. This crime cannot be even compared with the reasons Yaroshenko and Bout got their sentences in excess of 20 years in prison. We are ready to talk. There are other American citizens as well. For some reason, they are not of interest to the administration in Washington. But talking is always better than not talking.

Question: On the JCPOA, the United States wants to discuss [inaudible] the Middle East. Will this be included into the JCPOA?  And on Syria, why doesn’t Damascus allow the UN to have humanitarian trips there? I know that there is a compromise made in the UN Security Council, but it does not seem to make sense. Does Syria or Damascus think that UN workers are Trojan horses?

Sergey Lavrov: Regarding the JCPOA, all we want is for it to resume without any preconditions. Attempts to add them as a requirement to expand the talks to include the Iranian missile programme or to discuss Iran’s “behaviour” in the region, as our Western colleagues say, have no future. This is like comparing apples and oranges. The agreement on the nuclear programme is a separate subject. If there are any concerns as to someone’s behaviour, Iran’s regional partners are not the only ones to have such concerns. Teheran has its own misgivings regarding them, which is totally normal for any region of the world.

The Persian Gulf countries engage in far-reaching foreign policy activities far beyond their regions. This must be taken into consideration. In this connection, we noted that many years ago Russia drafted a Collective Security Concept for the Persian Gulf region suggesting a dialogue inspired to some degree by the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe. This included discussing confidence-building measures, military transparency and attending each other’s exercises, as well as engaging in positive joint projects. Political scientists from the region and other countries have already discussed this topic. In August 2021, we updated our collective security approach for the Persian Gulf region and released it as an official UN General Assembly and Security Council document. We believe that it is at a forum of this kind, and we hope that we will succeed in convening it, that we need to discuss concerns over the presence of missiles in this region, since Iran is not alone in this regard, and what kind of policies various parties follow. The conflict in Yemen is a case in point in terms of exposing the interests of Arab countries and Iran. There is a need to reach agreements. We believe that this forum should reach beyond the Gulf region. You cannot separate Iraq, Egypt and Jordan in terms of their engagement in shaping a new common platform for constructive dialogue. The Arab League, and the five permanent members of the UN Security must all be involved. Probably, the European Union will also be interested. We believe this approach to be concrete and realistic, at least I had the impression that our colleagues were interested in it. Yesterday, I met with the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), and they are interested in this topic. We agreed to make it a priority as we resume our ministerial contacts.

As for humanitarian aid to Syria, yesterday I had a lengthy conversation on this topic with Secretary-General Antonio Guterres. We cannot be satisfied with a situation where double standards are being used in the most flagrant and blatant manner. There are six million refugees in Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey, or maybe even more. In November 2020, Russia and 20 other countries helped Damascus hold a conference on refugees. It focused on creating conditions that would enable refugees to return home, which is what most of them want. The fact that the United States did everything to intimidate those who were expected to attend this conference in Damascus, and the fact that the UN did not take part in the conference was a real shock for us. In fact, the UN representative in Damascus was the only person representing the UN as an observer. At the time, I wrote a letter to UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres saying that this amounted to a failure to comply with UN Security Council Resolution 2254 that provides a framework for the UN’s activity on the Syrian track. It clearly stipulates efforts to facilitate humanitarian deliveries and creating conditions that would enable refugees to return to Syria.

Early in 2021, the European Union held an annual conference on Syrian refugees in Brussels, without the Syrian Arab Republic, but co-chaired by the EU and the UN Secretary-General. How perplexing. Not only was Syria not present, which is already a flagrant violation of international humanitarian law, but the funds collected at the conference went towards paying for the accommodation of refugees in Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey, instead of being used to restore infrastructure in Syria. For this reason, I ask those of our friends from the media who worry about ordinary people in conflict zones, to note that initiatives of this kind make a mockery of international humanitarian law.

We adopted the compromise resolution in July. It is true that it extends the so-called cross-border humanitarian aid mechanism for another six months, with deliveries primarily coming from Turkey to the Idlib de-escalation zone. However, considering that the West clings to this mechanism that has not been agreed with Damascus and runs counter to the international humanitarian law, we have every reason to believe that there is some kind of hidden agenda there. We do not get any information on what is in the lorries heading to the Idlib de-escalation zone. The UN swears that they inspect every lorry, but there is no way this can be verified. Even more so, no one knows how this aid or whatever these boxes contain is distributed in the Idlib de-escalation zone, or whether terrorists from Hayat Tahrir al-Sham and other unacceptable structures benefit from this aid.

Unless specific measures are taken to unblock humanitarian aid deliveries through Damascus, as required under international humanitarian law, we will put an end to this untransparent cross-border activity. Moreover, since the adoption of the resolution requiring that aid be sent into Syria through Damascus as well, there was only one convoy, and even it was far from complete. About half of the supplies that had been waiting to be delivered for almost a year could not reach their destination. The convoy organised by the International Committee of the Red Cross together with the Syrian Arab Red Crescent back in April 2020 remained where it was. Those who care about the starving population must, first, appeal to the Western countries that can influence this situation, and second, reach out to the UN leadership so that it complies with the relevant resolution. Apart from purely the humanitarian aspects, on assisting Syria and humanitarian deliveries, this resolution calls for the so-called early recovery projects, including water supply, electricity, housing, schools and healthcare. This must be done, and the UN Secretariat knows this. Syrians currently face so much hardship. Throughout the Syrian crisis the UN Secretariat did little to create conditions facilitating the return of refugees. However, the UN Security Council Resolution is there. It has been adopted unanimously, and has to be carried out.

Question: Yesterday, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas declared that the Palestinians would withdraw their recognition of the State of Israel, if Israel did not cease its occupation within one year.  This will lead to chaos in the Middle East. What can the Russian Federation as a friend of the Palestinians and a country maintaining good relations with Israel do to avoid this scenario? After the Palestinians lost faith in the efficacy of the peace process, do they have the right to defend themselves and resist the occupation?

Sergey Lavrov: All right, let’s talk about the Palestinian-Israeli problems. These problems are certainly grave ones. They were not helped by the “casting about” we observed during the previous US administration. I am referring to both their recognition of the Golan Heights and the attempts to promote what was actually an annexation inscribed in the context of the efforts to create a quasi Palestinian state. What is important here is that the Biden administration has confirmed its commitment to the two-state approach. But the Israeli prime minister is not confirming this commitment, although there are politicians in Israel and in the Israeli parliament, who have different views on how to ensure security of the Jewish State without living under constant strain and hitting targets threatening Israel. [According to them], the alternative is to come to an agreement and build a stable and peaceful life through a two-state safe and prosperous coexistence in keeping with the principles of a settlement endorsed by the UN Security Council and the UN General Assembly. The current Israeli leaders are maintaining contacts that mostly boil down to keeping security in the Palestinian territories.

We believe that it would be a major mistake if the processes in the region – Libya, Syria, Iraq, Yemen, etc. – make us forget about the Palestinian question. After all, it is the outgrowth of this planet’s longest-lasting modern conflict, a conflict that other powers sought to settle through the creation of two states. One state was established in no time, but the other state is still to be created.

I believe that the decision approved by the Arab League at the initiative of the King of Saudi Arabia almost 20 years ago now was a wise decision. I am referring to the Arab Peace Initiative, which said that the Arab countries would normalise their relations with Israel immediately after the creation of a viable Palestinian state conforming to all the UN-defined criteria. That was quite a specimen of statecraft. But the Trump administration attempted to turn everything upside down. The Abraham Accords promoted by a number of Arab countries were based on the logic that the first thing to do was to normalise relations between the Arabs and Israel, with the Palestinian problem to be considered afterwards. We welcome any kind of normalisation between any states. Not at the expense of Palestine in this case. It is gratifying that all the signatories of the Abraham Accords, including Bahrain, the UAE, the Sudan, and Morocco stressed that they were fully committed to the UN decisions on the Palestinian problem. This is where we should stand.

You asked whether they have the right to fight. They will not ask [for anyone’s permission]. The unregulated state of the Palestinian problem is the gravest factor feeding radical sentiments on the Arab “street.”  The extremist preachers are saying that their people have been wronged, that they were promised a state of their own 80 years ago but it was a deception. Young people, particularly uneducated ones, are highly sensitive to this sort of propaganda. But my Israeli colleagues get offended when I explain to them this aspect of the Middle East situation and the impact of the lack of a settlement of the Palestinian problem is exerting on stability in the whole of the region. They say I am wrong and that the problem is not very serious. But this is a shortsighted approach.

This is the reason why we are supporting Palestine President Mahmoud Abbas’ proposal to convene an international conference. But we are confident that it must be thoroughly prepared, for which purpose we would like to resume the activities of the Quartet of international intermediaries consisting of Russia, the United States, the European Union and the United Nations and to recruit for joint work, for example, the foursome of Arab countries – Egypt, Jordan, the UAE, and Bahrain – that have relations with Israel.   Probably Saudi Arabia, the author of the Arab Peace Initiative, should be invited as well. This makes 4+4+1+2 (Israel and Palestine). If some parties believe that it is still too early to meet in this format, we are ready to offer our territory as a venue and support any other invitation for Israel and Palestine to meet for direct talks. The important thing is to avoid procrastination. We will seek to support this approach in every way we can.

Most importantly, while what we have just discussed depends on many factors (some depend on Israel, some on other members of regional organisations), there is one matter that depends on no one but the Palestinians themselves. I am referring to Palestinian unity. Attempts were being made to restore it a couple of years ago now. Certain agreements seemed to be reached and a circle of elections was announced. But eventually nothing came of it.  The lack of rapport between Ramallah and Gaza carries a negative charge. If the Palestinians restored their unity, it would be easier and more effective for them to talk to Israel at future negotiations.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu once said that he did not know who to hold talks with, when it was unclear whom Mr Abbas was representing.  It looked like he had Ramallah alone, while Gaza was controlled by other people. These matters have a strong influence on any attempts to achieve major political results. The Palestinians are unwilling to restore unity. But we are actively working with all the Palestinian factions. I repeatedly invited them to Moscow. During the discussions they agree they should reunite, but later it all somehow goes amiss.

Question (retranslated from English): This week, the European Commission accused Russia of engaging in hacker attacks against European politicians and media representatives, in particular, German politicians and officials, in the run-up to tomorrow’s election in which they are participating. What is your response to these accusations? Do you have any expectations regarding the outcome of elections in Germany?

Trevor Reed’s family believes he was unjustly indicted and sentenced to an unreasonably long term. Could you comment on these statements as well?

Sergey Lavrov: I have already covered Trevor Reed and Paul Whelan, for that matter. Paul Whelan was arrested on espionage charges. He was caught red-handed. Trevor Reed was arrested for attacking and hitting a police officer several times. I am not sure how many years in prison people in the United States would get for violent attacks against a police officer. I think, many. Konstantin Yaroshenko and Viktor Bout were simply lured by deception into a deal where they used an aircraft for some purpose, which got them implicated into a case of arms and drug smuggling. They were sentenced to over 20 years in prison without having hurt anyone or having any intention to violate international rules for trading in particular types of goods. So, our US colleagues need to be consistent, if they are offended over someone being arrested here. The same standards should be applied to all situations. In the case of an attack on police officers, see what is happening at the trial on the “Capitol attack.”

With regard to the accusations advanced by the European Commission, we are willing to review the facts, but they simply will not give us any. We are being unfoundedly charged with the alleged poisoning of Alexander Litvinenko with polonium in London in 2007. They have not yet provided a single piece of evidence, but closed the process to the public and made it “official,” meaning that the judges can now consider secret materials behind closed doors. Now, they want to do the same with the process regarding the woman who died in Salisbury in the context of the Skripal case. They also want closed hearings on the causes of her death in order to avoid disclosing some secret documents. Nobody is making them available to us, but they blame us for everything. As with the Skripal case, they are also blaming us for the Malaysian Boeing case. The court in The Hague ruled that they had reason to believe the United States, which stated it had satellite images to prove that Russia had done it. But they did not show these images to anyone. The Dutch court considers this normal. They believe whatever the Americans say. Arnold Schwarzenegger famously said “trust me” in one of his films, and Ronald Reagan added “but verify.” So, we want to conduct verification. In the case of the MH17 flight, we provided the data from the radars and much more. The Ukrainians refused to share the data from their radars. Allegedly, they “went dead” during the crash. They refuse to provide the exchange between the air traffic controller and the pilots. This speaks volumes. And much more.

We’re being accused of interfering  in the US elections. I discussed this matter with my colleagues on many occasions, in particular, with former US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. He once said they had irrefutable evidence of Russia’s interference in the 2016 US elections, and I asked him to show it to me. He said they would not let us see it and that we should contact our special services for they would know what it was all about. That was all that was said. Is that okay?

The same goes for cyber attacks. The US authorities accused us (President Biden brought this issue up at a meeting with President Putin) or, rather our ransomware hackers, of attacking a meat processor and a fuel pipeline in the United States demanding them to pay ransom. Nobody showed us any evidence. President Biden, however, said their data show it is not the Russian Government that is doing this, but some people who are based in  Russia.

We let them know that most (about half) of the hacker attacks on our resources over the past year were carried out from the United States. Some originated in Germany and other countries. We have sent 45 official inquiries to our US colleagues indicating concrete facts that needed investigation. We received nine replies. We have received about 10 official inquiries and answered every one of them. I am heartened to know that the Americans agreed to move away from sporadic accusations and complaints and to begin systematic work on this matter after President Putin discussed this issue with President Biden in Geneva. The services that deal with cyber security have established dedicated communication channels. We hope that things will get going now.

With regard to the election in Germany, we wish every success to all its participants.

Question: Last week, the preliminary results of an investigation conducted by Justice Department special counsel John Durham into “Russiagate” were made public in the United States. The indictment mentioned one of the probe’s initiators. It is not the first paradoxical situation reported in the United States. American officials are overturning the US accusations against Russia.

The paradox is that the sanctions adopted against Russia have not been lifted despite the refutation. What is Moscow’s position on this score and what are its American partners saying?

Sergey Lavrov: You have answered your own question. It was unreasonable to do this before pondering the matter or investigating the situation. And it is a pity that after the situation was clarified they have not retraced their steps so as not to harm our bilateral relations. This is what American manners are all about. We have become accustomed to this. We will never ask for the sanctions to be lifted. The “limit” has been exhausted by neighbouring Ukraine, which continues making requests, unable to get its bearings of what is happening.  We are not going to act in this manner.

We do not have any other partners [in the US]. However, dialogue is gradually taking shape in some spheres, such as strategic stability and cybersecurity, which gives hope that we will bit by bit develop dialogue based on mutual respect at least in some spheres of international relations.

Question (retranslated from English): My question concerns Palestine. Many people say that Palestinian settlements are occupying too much land, that there are already half a million settlers. Do you think it’s time for the international community to settle the problem by creating one state for two peoples? Could you comment on this please?

As you are aware, WFP Executive Director David Beasley said just two days ago now that at least 50,000 Yemenis are starving and millions need humanitarian aid and food. Do you think that the international community, which includes Russia, has let the Yemeni people down by failing to put sufficient pressure on all the conflicting parties, including Saudi Arabia?

Sergey Lavrov: I would not say that the international community is not doing enough to convince the conflicting parties to sit down at the negotiating table not only to exchange accusations but also to come to some agreements.  There are a number of factors involved here, which are, regrettably, absolutely subjective and have to do with the desire of certain individuals to remain in power as long as possible, which is having a negative effect on the negotiating process and the possibility of compromise. I will not go into any details right now, but Yemen is indeed a country with the world’s largest humanitarian disaster, which was pointed out long ago, when the conflict had only just started and was in the hot phase.

We are involved through our Embassy. Our ambassador to Yemen is currently working from Riyadh, where a group of ambassadors are acting together to support the process and the UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Yemen. I hope that everyone will gradually come to see the futility of trying to put off the necessary agreements.

As for the [Palestinian] settlements, we have always condemned the settlement policy, saying, just as you have so rightly pointed out, that this would create facts on the ground that will prevent the establishment of a Palestinian state. I have heard about the one state solution where all people would have equal rights. I believe that this is unrealistic. Many academics say that this, if this should happen, will undermine the Jewish nature of the State of Israel. But if equal rights are not granted to everyone in Israel, it might become an apartheid state.

I am quite sure that the two-state solution is the only option. I would just like to point out that many people in the Israeli political elite share this same view and believe that this option must be promoted more actively.

Raisi: Unconstructive IAEA Attitude Can’t Have Constructive Response

September 9, 2021

Raisi: Unconstructive IAEA Attitude Can’t Have Constructive Response

By Staff, Agencies

Iranian President Sayyed Ebrahim Raisi warned the United Nations nuclear watchdog against the consequences of its “unconstructive” attitude towards Iran.

Raisi made the remarks during a phone call initiated by European Council chief Charles Michel, which he had officially requested to hold with the Iranian chief executive.

“Instances of Iran’s serious cooperation with the [International Atomic Energy] Agency [IAEA] serve as shining examples of its will to observe transparency in its nuclear activities,” Raisi said.

“[However,] the agency’s unconstructive attitude will be disruptive of the negotiation course,” he noted, adding, “Naturally, it defies logic to expect Iran to offer a constructive reaction to such attitude.”

The IAEA has, on several occasions, relied on so-called information provided to it by the US and the Zionist Mossad spy agency to allege the presence of “uranium traces” on some locations inside the Islamic Republic.

The body that is forbidden from trusting alleged data provided to it by foreign intelligence services has been using the claims to request visits to those sites on Iranian soil.

Tehran, which has been warning the agency against adopting such approaches, has, nevertheless, provided it with voluntary access to those sites to show its goodwill. The good-faith gestures have not stopped the agency, though, from repeating such requests.

Raisi said Iran was the only country that stood by the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action [JCPOA] in the face of the United States and Europeans’ non-commitment.

The US left the historic 2015 nuclear deal three years after its conclusion and began reinforcing its oppressive sanctions against the Iranian nation. Its European allies in the deal—the UK, France, and Germany—were quick to start toeing Washington’s sanction line as closely as possible.

Raisi also took exception to Europe’s refusal to duly condemn the US’s early 2020 “terrorist” assassination of Iran’s senior anti-terror commander, Lieutenant General Qassem Soleimani.

The entire world witnessed that Iran was the only country to truly confront Daesh’s [Arabic for ‘ISIS/ISIL’] terrorism in Iraq and Syria, the Iranian president asserted.

He called General Soleimani, who used to direct Iran’s military advisory assistance to Baghdad and Damascus in the face of the group, “a hero of terror fight in the region and the world,” censuring European countries for failing to adopt a “just position” on his assassination.

Russia’s position at the seventy-sixth session of the UN General Assembly

August 05, 2021

Russia’s position at the seventy-sixth session of the UN General Assembly

https://www.mid.ru/en/foreign_policy/news/-/asset_publisher/cKNonkJE02Bw/content/id/4834791

1.      The goal of the 76-th session of the UN General Assembly (GA) is to reaffirm the central and coordinating role of the Organization in international affairs. Owing to its representativeness and universality, the UN is rightfully viewed as a unique platform for an equitable dialogue aimed at reaching compromise solutions with due regard to different opinions. Attempts to undermine the authority and legitimacy of the UN are, in our view, extremely dangerous, as they can lead to the dismantlement of the multipolar system of international relations.

2.      We have consistently advocated the strengthening of the genuine multilateral framework of international relations and world economy based on the norms of international law, including the UN Charter, with an emphasis on the unconditional respect for the sovereignty of States and non-interference in their internal affairs. We deem unacceptable the attempts of Western States to replace the universally recognized international legal principles with the so-called “rules-based world order” elaborated behind the scenes.

3.      We support the coordinated efforts of the international community to curb the spread of the new coronavirus infection as well as to mitigate its consequences in the political, health care, social and economic sectors. In this regard, we consider it unacceptable to politicize the issue of COVID-19 dissemination. We also stress the importance of showing unity and solidarity among all Member States and organizations of the United Nations system in the face of a common challenge. Russia stands for a gradual return to the face-to-face format of events at the UN as the epidemiological situation in the world improves.

4.      Preventing conflicts and addressing their consequences is our first priority. However, effective international assistance in this sphere, including from the UN, is only possible with the consent of the States concerned and in line with the UN Charter. This applies equally to good offices, preventive diplomacy and mediation, which should be conducted impartially and with respect for the sovereignty of States. It is crucial that there should be no universal “conflict indicators”: each situation calls for a delicate and unbiased approach as well as a thorough search for a tailored solution that would take into account the roots and history of the conflict.

5.        We believe that the goal of the UN Security Council reform is to increase the representation of developing States from Africa, Asia and Latin America in the Council without prejudice to its effectiveness and operational efficiency. Efforts to identify the best reform model, which would enjoy consensus or at least the support of the overwhelming majority of Member States, should continue in the current format of Intergovernmental Negotiations. The prerogatives of the UNSC permanent members shall not be subject to revision. The veto power is a unique tool that encourages the necessary compromises and allows the Council to reach well-considered and balanced decisions.

6.        We support realistic initiatives to revitalize the work of the UN General Assembly within the relevant Ad Hoc Working Group. We attach particular importance to fine-tuning the UNGA working methods, streamlining its overloaded agenda and strengthening multilingualism. Any innovation should be reasonable and correspond to the current needs. Any redistribution of the powers of other statutory bodies, especially the Security Council, in favour of the General Assembly is unacceptable.

7.      We support increased cooperation between the UN and regional and sub-regional organizations in line with the UN Charter, first and foremost, its Chapter VIII. The activities of regional associations, according to the UN Charter, should be in conformity with their objectives and principles. It is essential to further enhance partnership between the UN and such organizations as the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), the BRICS and the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU). The biennial resolutions on cooperation between the UN and the CIS, the CSTO and the SCO, uunanimously adopted at the previous 75th UNGA Session, prove the relevance of this task.

8.      The distortion of history and revision of the outcomes of World War II are unacceptable. We attach particular importance to the annual UNGA draft resolution on Combating Glorification of Nazism, neo-Nazism and Other Practices that Contribute to Fuelling Contemporary Forms of Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance. This document has traditionally enjoyed the support of the majority of UN Member States. We call on the delegations that abstained or voted against this initiative last year to reconsider their position.

9.      The destructive policies of certain extra-regional players in the Middle East and North Africa are clearly part of a global strategy to destroy the UN‑centric architecture established after World War II and replace it with a completely illegitimate “rules-based world order”.

We support the international legal parameters for resolving conflicts in this region agreed upon at the UN and implemented solely through political and diplomatic means. Our proposal to create a regional security architecture in the Persian Gulf and, in the longer term, throughout the whole Middle East remains on the table.

10.      One of the top priorities in the Middle East is the Syrian settlement. Achieving lasting and long-term stabilisation and security in the country is only possible through the full restoration of the country’s territorial integrity and sovereignty over its national territory. The continuation of the fight against international terrorist groups recognized as such by the UN Security Council remains critical.

On the political track, we support the promotion of a Syrian-led settlement process implemented by the Syrian people themselves with the UN assistance, as provided for in UNSC resolution 2254. We have consistently supported the relevant work of the Special Envoy of the UN Secretary-General for Syria, Geir Pedersen, but also stressed that his efforts should not go beyond the mandate defined by the Security Council.

There is growing concern about the significant deterioration of the humanitarian and socio-economic situation in the Syrian Arab Republic against the backdrop of tougher unilateral sanctions and the COVID-19 pandemic. We call on responsible members of the international community to refrain from politicising purely humanitarian issues and render assistance to all Syrians in coordination with Damascus, provide for sanctions exemptions for reconstruction projects and facilitate the return of refugees and IDPs.

11.       We are convinced that one of the foundations for establishing peace and security in the Middle East is the revival of the Middle East settlement process with the resolution of the Palestinian problem at its core.

We attach key importance to preventing an escalation of violence between Palestinians and Israelis and to providing extensive humanitarian assistance to those affected and in need in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. At the same time, we advocate for the restart of direct Israeli-Palestinian negotiations on all issues concerning the final status on the universally recognized international legal basis, including a two-State solution. We call on the parties to show restraint, to refrain from unilateral steps and provocative actions (forced evictions, expropriation of houses and land, settlement construction, arbitrary arrests and any forms of violence) as well as to respect the special status and integrity of the Holy Sites of Jerusalem.

We consider it imperative to step up efforts within the framework of the Middle East Quartet, including its interaction with regional actors. We support the arrangement of a Quartet meeting at the ministerial level.

12.    We believe that there is no alternative to a political settlement in Libya. We highlight the need to take into account the views of all Libyan sides, including while planning for international assistance aimed at putting an end to the conflict. We engage with all parties and call for an early cessation of hostilities and the restoration of sustainable and integrated state institutions, including security agencies.

We support the observance of the ceasefire and a political and diplomatic settlement in Libya. All influential political forces should be heard and involved in the political life of the country. We welcome the formation of the Government of National Unity aimed at making arrangements for the national elections scheduled for December 2021. We encourage Libyan actors to seek compromise and to establish strong and effective unified authorities. We support the activities of Special Envoy Ján Kubiš.

13.    We advocate for the cessation of hostilities in Yemen, which exacerbate the dire humanitarian situation in the country. We urge the States involved to engage in the dialogue with a view to reaching a comprehensive settlement which would be accepted by all stakeholders in Yemen.

14.    We support the Iraqi leadership’s efforts to stabilize security situation and implement long-term social and economic reforms. We emphasize the significance of the forthcoming parliamentary elections. It is important that they contribute to bridging the divide between various ethnic and religious groups and political forces. We welcome the dialogue between Baghdad and Erbil. We believe that Iraq should not be subject to external interference and become an arena for regional rivalries.

15.    We consistently pursue the policy aimed at facilitating the process of national reconciliation in Afghanistan. We provide assistance in building a country free from terrorism and drug-related crime. We are seriously concerned about the continuing influence of ISIS in the north and north east of the country as well as the threat of the spillover of terrorist activities into Central Asia and the use of a deteriorating domestic political environment to undermine the peace process. Together with our partners within the “Troika Plus” and with the participation of both Afghan negotiating teams we are working to advance national reconciliation in the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan. We attach particular importance to regional co-operation, primarily through the SCO and the CSTO. We note the continuing relevance of the Moscow format of consultations on Afghanistan. We support the work of the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA).

16.    There is no alternative to the Package of Measures for the Implementation of the Minsk Agreements, enshrined in UNSC resolution 2202, as a framework for the internal settlement in Ukraine. Effective international assistance, including through the UN, should be aimed at implementing this decision and supporting the current settlement format, which includes the Contact Group in Minsk and the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission.

Sustainable political and diplomatic settlement of the internal crisis in Ukraine can only be achieved through a direct dialogue between Kiev and Donbass, while taking into account the legitimate demands of all the regions of Ukraine and its linguistic, ethnic and sectarian groups at the constitutional level. We will continue to actively assist in addressing the acute humanitarian situation in eastern Ukraine, which has persisted for many years and was brought about by the actions of the authorities in Kiev.

We insist on a full, thorough and independent international investigation of the MH17 plane crash over the Ukrainian territory based on irrefutable facts and in line with UNSC resolution 2166. Neither the technical investigation into the causes of the Malaysian Boeing crash conducted by the Dutch Safety Board nor the criminal investigation by the Joint Investigation Team meet these criteria.

We expect that all cases of violence against civilians and journalists that have occurred since the beginning of the internal crisis in Ukraine will be investigated fairly and impartially, and that all those responsible will be brought to justice.

17.       The territorial status of Crimea was definitively determined by the Crimean population itself during a referendum in March 2014. Any discussions on the situation in this Russian region that do not involve its residents bear no relation to reality. This issue as well as the situation around the Sea of Azov and the Kerch Strait, which lies within the scope of the Russian-Ukrainian bilateral relations, cannot be part of the UN-led discussion on the developments in Ukraine.

We condemn the efforts of the Ukrainian delegation to introduce the Crimean issue in the UNGA through a politicized resolution on the “militarization” of the peninsula as well as parts of the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov.           The resolution is built on groundless, unacceptable accusations against Russia and is intended to put the blame for all of Ukraine’s internal problems on the mythical “Russian aggression”. The document contains Kiev’s twisted interpretation of the provocation it carried out on 25 November 2018, when three Ukrainian vessels attempted to enter the Kerch Strait without first notifying the Russian side. The allegations on the alleged militarization of Crimea and parts of the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov contained in the aforementioned resolution also contradict the truth.

In case this odious draft resolution is again introduced in the UNGA, we call on all States to vote firmly against its adoption.

18.    The implementation of the trilateral statements of 9 November 2020 and 11 January 2021 is a priority for normalizing the situation in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict area. We consider it useful to involve UN agencies and in particular the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in humanitarian activities in the Russian peacekeeping operation area. The parameters for their possible work should be agreed upon in direct coordination with Baku and Yerevan.

19.    The problem of the Korean Peninsula should be resolved by political and diplomatic means. Building up sanctions pressure is counterproductive. The creation of a new security architecture in North-East Asia that would take into account the legitimate interests of all States in the region, including the DPRK itself, is key to achieving the settlement of this issue. Various Russian-Chinese initiatives, including the relevant “Roadmap’, the “Action Plan” and a UNSC political resolution are all important tools in this regard.

20.    The early restoration of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) aimed at settling the situation with the Iranian nuclear program is a priority task. We call on the US to return as soon as possible to full compliance with UNSC resolution 2231 and to implement the JCPOA, including through lifting the unilateral anti-Iranian sanctions imposed after the withdrawal of Washington from the “nuclear deal”.

21.    The solution to the Cyprus issue should be elaborated by the Cypriot communities themselves without any external pressure. Russia is guided by relevant UNSC resolutions which call for the formation of a bicommunal, bizonal federation with a single international legal personality, sovereignty and citizenship. The existing security guarantee system has become obsolete, is no longer able to alleviate the concerns of the parties involved and should be replaced with the guarantees from the UN Security Council.

22.    Russia fully supports the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Bosnia and Herzegovina, the principle of equality of the three state-constituting peoples and the two entities with broad constitutional powers in full compliance with the 1995 Dayton Accords. In this context, we strongly disagree with the so-called appointment of a new High Representative for Bosnia and Herzegovina by the Steering Board of the Peace Implementation Council. Without the UNSC approval this decision has no executive force. Moreover, the abolition of the Office of the High Representative is long overdue.

23.    The settlement of the Kosovo issue should be based on international law, first and foremost on UNSC resolution 1244. Belgrade and Pristina should come to an agreement themselves, while the task of the international community is to help the parties find mutually acceptable solutions without external pressure. The EU, as a mediator in the dialogue in accordance with UNGA resolution 64/298 of 9 September 2010, should seek to ensure that the parties implement the agreed decisions, primarily, the establishment of the Community of Serb municipalities in Kosovo (the CSMK; the agreement reached in 2013 has still not been implemented). We support the work of the UN Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK).

24.    Internal disputes in Venezuela can only be resolved by the Venezuelans themselves, through a broad and direct dialogue and with full respect for the country’s Constitution. Effective international cooperation is possible only if it is aimed at supporting such a dialogue.

The illegal unilateral coercive measures imposed against Venezuela undermine the efforts of the Venezuelan authorities to effectively combat the pandemic, as well as impede the normalization of the humanitarian situation in the country and the improvement of the migration situation in the region. Humanitarian assistance should be provided without politicisation and in accordance with the UN guiding principles enshrined in UNGA resolution 46/182.

We will continue to oppose any attempts to question the mandates of Venezuela’s official delegations at various international organizations.

25.    We learned with deep sorrow the news of the assassination of the President of Haiti Jovenel Moïse. We have been closely following the investigation into this crime. We are seriously concerned about information regarding the involvement of foreign nationals, including from the US and Colombia, in this brutal murder. This indicates that once again external forces are trying to exploit the purely internal conflict to promote their destructive interests.

We are convinced that the only way to normalize the situation in the country is to reach broad internal political consensus in strict conformity with the universally recognized norms and principles of international law. It is important that all decisions should be taken through peaceful political means by the Haitians themselves, with international support but without destructive external interference in order to elaborate solutions acceptable to the opposing parties.

26.    The Final Peace Agreement is the international legal basis for the settlement in Colombia. This document made it possible for the UNSC and the UN Secretary-General to support the peace process. Unilateral attempts to alter the substance of its provisions are unacceptable. Comprehensive sustainable settlement in Colombia is impossible without involving the National Liberation Army (ELN) in the peace process.

27.    We call on all parties to the conflict in Myanmar to put an end to violence and launch a constructive dialogue in order to move towards national reconciliation. International community should avoid politicising the issue, refrain from interfering in the internal affairs of a sovereign State and abandon sanctions threats. We emphasize the ASEAN special role in the peace process. The current situation in Myanmar does not pose any threat to international peace and security, thus the only issue on the UNSC agenda in this context should be the situation in the Rakhine State.

28.    We support the aspiration of India and Pakistan to normalize relations in the context of the situation in the Kashmir region. We hope that a new escalation along the line of control will be prevented. Only direct negotiations between New Delhi and Islamabad can form the basis for a long-term settlement of this sensitive issue.

29.    We believe that conflict settlement in Africa should be based on a leading role of the countries of the African continent and supported by the international community. We call for the strengthening of cooperation between the UN and the African Union as well as the continent’s sub-regional organizations. As a permanent member of the UNSC, we will continue to facilitate a political resolution of the crises in the CAR, the DRC, South Sudan, Somalia, Mali and the Sahara-Sahel region as a whole.

We are firmly committed to actively supporting the efforts of the CAR authorities to improve governance and provide security on the basis of the 2019 peace agreement. At the same time, we will keep engaging constructively with all responsible stakeholders that support stabilisation in the country.

In cooperation with like-minded partners, it is important to assist Sudan in implementing the tasks of the transition period. We insist that the UN Integrated Transition Assistance Mission in Sudan (UNITAMS) should always take into account the views of the authorities in Khartoum.

We stand for in an early normalization of the situation in the Ethiopian region of Tigray. Restoring stability in Ethiopia is certain to have a positive effect on the entire Horn of Africa. We consider the decision of the Federal Government of Ethiopia to establish a ceasefire in the region a step in the right direction. We call on all those involved to support this initiative of the authorities in order to stop the bloodshed and improve the humanitarian and social and economic situation.

30.    The UNGA Special Committee on Decolonization (C-24) will remain relevant until a definitive solution to the issue of all 17 Non-Self-Governing Territories is reached. We will continue to actively participate in the work of this body.

31.    UN peacekeeping should fully comply with the basic principles of the UN work in this area (consent of the parties, impartiality and non-use of force, except for self-defence and defence of the mandate) as well as with the UN Charter. The primary task is to promote political settlement of conflicts and national reconciliation. The adaptation of UN peacekeeping operations to contemporary realities should be implemented in strict accordance with the decisions agreed upon in the intergovernmental format. This includes, inter alia, the issues of “peacekeeping intelligence” and the use of new technologies, which should serve the sole purpose of ensuring peacekeepers’ safety and protection of civilians. Vesting peacekeeping operations with additional powers, including with respect to the use of force, is only possible upon a UNSC decision that takes into account the specific situation in each country.

The UNGA Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations (C-34) should be responsible for defining the further development of UN peacekeeping activities.         Peacebuilding and peacekeeping are inextricably linked and based on the principle of national ownership in prioritising post-conflict reconstruction and development. International support should only be provided upon request of the host government and be aimed at enhancing the States’ own capacity.

32.    The UNSC sanctions, as one of the strongest instruments of ‘targeted action’ to tackle threats to international peace and security, should not be abused. As a measure of last resort in the area of conflict resolution, they cannot be applied without first taking into account the full range of their possible humanitarian, social and economic and human rights consequences. It is unacceptable to use them as a means of unfair competition and pressure on “undesirable regimes”. The functions of the existing institution of the Ombudsperson should be expanded to protect the interests of all the entities on the Security Council sanctions list. It is unacceptable to supplement Security Council sanctions with unilateral restrictions, especially those of an extraterritorial nature.

33.    We believe that all Member States should join efforts in the fight against terrorism, with the UN playing a central coordinating role. We firmly reject any double standards or hidden agendas in this area. We are convinced that the issue of terrorism should be addressed through the implementation of the relevant universal conventions and protocols, the UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy and relevant UNSC and UNGA resolutions.

Support for the counter-terrorism bodies of the United Nations system, first and foremost the United Nations Office of Counter-Terrorism (UNOCT), remains a priority. We advocate for the expansion of the UNOCT financing from the UN regular budget. We also intend to increase our voluntary contributions to the Office and call on other Member States to do the same. We believe that law enforcement and prevention-oriented initiatives should remain at the core of the UNOCT programme and project activities.

We consider it critical to make greater use of the tools of the specialized subsidiary UNSC bodies, primarily its Counter-Terrorism Committee (CTC), the sanctions committees on ISIL, Al-Qaida and the Taliban Movement. We are committed to a constructive dialogue with regard to the review of the mandate of the CTC Executive Directorate.

We call for ensuring full compliance with UNSC resolutions against the financing of terrorism, as well as with the standards of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF).

We intend to step up efforts to cut off weapons, financial and material support for terrorists, to stop the spread of terrorist propaganda, including through the use of modern information and communication technologies, and to eliminate links between terrorist groups and drug trafficking and other organized crime groups. It is necessary to strengthen cooperation between countries in countering foreign terrorist fighters (FTFs) and bringing them to justice more quickly.

We oppose the dilution of the international legal framework by non-consensual concepts, such as “countering violent extremism“, which allow for the interference in the internal affairs of States and the reorientation of international cooperation on counter-terrorism towards secondary gender and human rights issues. We believe it necessary to enhance efforts to combat various manifestations of extremism, including right-wing radicalism, while countering attempts to use this issue for political purposes and as an excuse to increase anti-Russian sanctions pressure.

34.    We strongly oppose the revision and weakening of the current international drug control system, including by legalising all recreational (non-medical) drug use, as well as imposing questionable drug treatment practices as a “universal standard” and promoting drug use as a socially acceptable norm.

We advocate the strengthening of the policy-making role of the UN Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND) in the area of drug control. We intend to further continue to actively oppose efforts aimed at creating and institutionalising mechanisms that duplicate the CND work, and at imposing an alternative strategy for addressing the world drug problem bypassing the CND. We emphasize the need for States to strictly comply with the international anti-drug conventions. In view of the re-election to the CND for the period of 2022-2025, the Russian Federation will continue to promote a consistent line on the Commission’s platform as well as in negotiating the resolutions and decisions of the 76th UNGA Session.

We are concerned about the drastic deterioration of the drug situation in Afghanistan and its possible projection into increased smuggling of opiates into Russia and Central Asian countries. In the context of the withdrawal of NATO troops from the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, international and regional anti-drug efforts, such as the Paris Pact, the SCO, the CIS, and the CARICC, are of particular importance. We believe that consistent, effective anti-drug efforts by the Afghan leadership based on the principle of common and shared responsibility of States, are essential for achieving security in the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan.

35.    We support the key role of the United Nations in consolidating international efforts to combat transnational organised crime. We note the importance of an impartial Mechanism for the Review of the Implementation of the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organised Crime. We advocate strengthening the legal framework of international cooperation, including the development of new international legal instruments in a number of areas, including cybercrime, asset recovery, extradition and mutual legal assistance.

36.    We facilitate the development of the international anti-corruption cooperation, with the UN playing the central and coordinating role, based on the unique universal agreement, the UN Convention against Corruption (CAC). We support the effective functioning of the Mechanism for the Review of the Convention Implementation. We welcome the results of the first UNGA Special Session against Corruption which took place in June 2021. We consider it important that the political declaration of the UNGA Special Session confirmed the existence of gaps in international law governing the return from abroad of assets obtained as a result of corruption offences. We emphasise the need to develop an international legal instrument on asset recovery under the auspices of the UN to complement the UN Convention against Corruption.

37.    We support the key role of the UN in consolidating joint efforts to ensure international information security (IIS). They should result in the elaboration and adoption under the UN auspices of universal and comprehensive rules of responsible behaviour of States in information space aimed at preventing conflicts therein and promoting the use of information and communications technologies (ICTs) for peaceful purposes.

We welcome the adoption of the consensus reports of the UN Open-Ended Working Group (OEWG) and the UN Group of Governmental Experts on IIS. We note the unique spirit of the constructive dialogue at these platforms.

During the 76th UNGA Session, we intend to introduce in its First Committee an updated draft resolution on “Developments in the Field of Information and Telecommunications in the Context of International Security” welcoming the successful conclusion of the work of both groups as well as the launch of a new Russia-initiated OEWG on Security in the Use of ICTs and ICTs themselves 2021-2025 (in accordance with UNGA resolution 75/240).

We assume that the new Group will ensure the continuity and consistency of an inclusive and truly democratic negotiation process on IIS under the UN auspices within a single mechanism. We call on all States to take an active part in the work of the OEWG 2021-2025 and contribute to building a fair and equitable IIS system.

In line with the relevant UNGA resolutions adopted at the initiative of the Russian Federation, we advocate for an early drafting, under the auspices of the UN, of an international convention countering the use of information and communications technologies for criminal purposes. The consensus modalities set out while preparing for the negotiation process in the relevant UNGA Ad Hoc Committee enable us to count on constructive and comprehensive participation of the entire international community in developing a universal and effective instrument to counter digital crime.

We call on our partners to support our First Committee draft resolution as well as to unequivocally endorse full implementation of the mandates of the new OEWG and the Ad Hoc Committee.

38. We have consistently advocated strengthening the existing treaty regimes and developing, through consensus, new arms control, disarmament and non-proliferation (ACDNP) regimes. The UN and its multilateral disarmament mechanism should play a central role in this process. We are committed to ensuring the coherence and improving the performance of its three key elements – the First Committee of the UN General Assembly, the Conference on Disarmament and the UN Disarmament Commission – while unconditionally respecting the mandates of these forums.

We deem it necessary to counter any attempts to revise the existing disarmament architecture by means of unilateral coercive measures that bypass the UN Security Council.

The main focus of multilateral efforts and fundamentally new approaches to address the whole range of problems in the field of the ACDNP may be considered at a summit of the permanent members of the UN Security Council which Russia has proposed to hold.

39. We strictly comply with our obligations under the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) and advocate for its early entry into force. We call on the eight states on which the launch of the Treaty depends to sign and/or ratify it without delay. We believe that the key destructive factor here is the position of the United States which is the only state to have officially refused to ratify the Treaty. We expect Washington to reconsider its approach to the CTBT.

40. We support the noble cause of shaping a world free of nuclear weapons. We make a substantial practical contribution to achieving this goal. However, we are convinced there is a need for a balanced approach that takes into account all factors affecting strategic stability, including disruptive US steps aimed at undermining the existing ACDNP architecture. We do not support radical initiatives on introducing an early nuclear weapons ban (namely, the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, TPNW).

41. We consider the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) to be the most important international legal instrument for ensuring international security and one of the pillars of the modern world order. Our common task is to prevent the final collapse of the system of international disarmament and arms control agreements that has been developed over decades and the regimes based upon them.

In this regard, we attach primary importance to the viability of the NPT. We call on all States Parties to make every effort at the 10th Review Conference postponed until 2022 because of the new coronavirus pandemic to strengthen the Treaty and to help achieve its goals rather than cause more controversy around it. The ultimate goal is to draft a document that would reaffirm the viability of the Treaty and the willingness of the States Parties to strictly abide by their commitments.

We fully support the work of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) as an international organisation that possesses the necessary authority and competence to monitor the observance of the non-proliferation obligations under the NPT through the application of Agency safeguards, which, in its turn, is an important condition for the States to exercise their right to use nuclear energy for peaceful purposes.

We believe that further development of the IAEA safeguards system serves to strengthen the non-proliferation regime, provided that it keeps intact the basic principles of verification – impartiality, technical feasibility, and transparency.

We are concerned about the recent tendency to politicise the IAEA safeguards system. As a result, claims are being made against States based on the ‘very likely/highly likely’ approach while deployment of nuclear weapons belonging to some countries in the territory of other formally non-nuclear States is being ignored.

The IAEA should not be turned into a nuclear disarmament verification tool, as this is neither a statutory purpose nor a function of the Agency. We believe that the participation of the IAEA Secretariat staff in the January 2022 Meeting of States Parties to the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) in Vienna is inappropriate.

42. We regard the Conference on the Establishment of a Middle East Zone Free of Nuclear Weapons and Other Weapons of Mass Destruction held in New York on 18-22 November 2019 as a landmark event both in terms of ensuring stability and sustainability in the region and in the context of global efforts towards WMD non-proliferation. We intend to further support the idea of such conferences. We believe that efforts to elaborate a legally binding agreement on creating a WMD-free zone in the Middle East serve the interests of all states in the region.

We hope that the second Conference on the establishment of a WMD-free zone due to be held in New York in November 2020 but postponed because of the COVID-19 pandemic will take place this year, which would allow to kick start a somewhat stagnant process.

43. We are confident that there is still potential for political and diplomatic settlement of the situation arising from the termination of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF Treaty) based on Russia’s initiative to ensure predictability and restraint in the missile sphere.

We intend to maintain a unilateral moratorium on the deployment of land-based intermediate-range or shorter-range missiles in regions where no similar US-made weapons would appear. Despite the absence of a constructive response to this initiative on the part of NATO, we still consider a moratorium to be a promising idea that would make it possible to avoid new ‘missile crises’. We propose that the US and their NATO allies take on a similar commitment.

We reaffirm our commitment to the strict compliance with the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (the New START) and welcome its extension for five years without any preconditions – something that the Russian Federation has long and consistently called for. The extension of this Treaty set the stage for resuming a comprehensive dialogue with the United States on future arms control and the maintenance of strategic stability. At the Russian-US summit in Geneva on June 16, 2021 it was agreed to launch such a dialogue in the near future, as reflected in the Joint Statement by the Presidents at the meeting.

We believe that the goal of this engagement is to develop a new ‘security formula’ that takes into account all major factors of strategic stability, covers offensive and defensive nuclear and non-nuclear weapons capable of meeting strategic challenges, as well as the emergence of new technologies and new weapons.

44. We highly commend efforts of the UN Security Council and its ad-hoc 1540 Committee on the WMD non-proliferation. We are determined to engage in a substantive and constructive dialogue in the framework of the comprehensive review of the implementation of UNSC Resolution 1540. We expect that the procedure will result in the confirmation of the 1540 Committee’s current mandate.

45. Russia has initiated the development of important multilateral agreements in the ACDNP area, such as the Prevention of an Arms Race in Outer Space Treaty (PAROS) and the International Convention on the Suppression of Acts of Chemical and Biological Terrorism. We believe that a constructive dialogue on these issues will provide an opportunity to engage in substantive work (including negotiations) at the UN platform.

The imperative of preserving space for peaceful purposes and taking cooperative practical measures to this end is shared by the vast majority of States. We consider the globalisation of the no-first placement of weapons in outer space initiative to be an important but only interim step on the way towards the conclusion of an international treaty on the prevention of placement of weapons in outer space on the basis of a relevant Chinese-Russian draft treaty on the prevention of the placement of weapons in outer space and the threat or use of force against outer space objects.

At the 76th session of the General Assembly, we will traditionally submit to the First Committee draft resolutions on no first placement of weapons in outer space, transparency and confidence-building measures in space activities and further practical measures to prevent an arms race in outer space.

46. We consider it necessary to continue strengthening the central and coordinating role of the United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (COPUOS). We are against the practice of addressing issues that fall within the competence of the Committee at other non-specialised international fora. We are concerned about the trend towards the consolidation of unilateral approaches in the policies of certain States aimed at establishing of a regime for the research, development and use of space resources, which carries serious risks for international cooperation, including with respect to outer space.

We continue to actively engage in the work of COPUOS to improve the security regime for space operations. We have succeeded in establishing the Working Group on the Long-term Sustainability of Outer Space Activities. The Group’s mandate is to implement the existing and develop new guidelines on long-term sustainability of outer space activities, which is of particular importance against the background of the rapidly changing environment in which space activities take place.

We are against moving the issues traditionally on the COPUOS agenda to parallel platforms, including the First Committee of the UN General Assembly, as part of the concept of the so-called ‘responsible behaviours in outer space’. Neglecting the Committee’s key role with regard to space debris and space traffic management may negatively affect the adoption of balanced consensus decisions in these areas.

We are in favour of the successful completion of efforts to develop the Space-2030 agenda and its implementation plan, with a view to presenting this document at the current session of the General Assembly.

47. We are in favour of strengthening the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention and the Chemical Weapons Convention, the 1925 Geneva Protocol for the Prohibition of the Use in War of Asphyxiating, Poisonous or other Gases, and of Bacteriological Methods of Warfare, as well as the Secretary-General’s Mechanism for Investigation of Alleged Use of Chemical and Biological Weapons.

In order to ensure the effective operation of this UN Secretary-General’s Mechanism, at the 76th session of the General Assembly we will submit a relevant draft resolution to the First Committee.

We come out against attempts by Western states to politicise the work of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) in violation of the norms set in the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC). We regard as illegitimate their actions aimed at vesting the Technical Secretariat of the OPCW with the function of ‘identifying those responsible’ for the use of chemical weapons (attribution), including the creation of an illegitimate Investigation and Identification Team (IIT). We strongly disagree with its biased conclusions. We also have a whole range of complaints about the work of other OPCW inspection missions in the Syrian Arab Republic which violate the methods of investigation set out in the CWC. We urge the OPCW leadership to take action as soon as possible to rectify this deplorable situation.

We support impartial and highly professional investigations into chemical provocations by anti-government forces in Syria and all manifestations of ‘chemical terrorism’ in the Middle East in strict accordance with the high standards of the CWC.

48. We note the negative impact on international security of yet another destructive step by the United States – the decision to withdraw from the Treaty on Open Skies (OST) under the pretext of alleged violations of the Treaty by Russia. Alongside the US withdrawal from the INF Treaty, as a consequence of which the Treaty ceased to have effect, this step is fully in line with Washington’s policy of destroying the whole range of arms control agreements and causes real damage to the European security system. The United States have upset the balance of rights and obligations of the States Parties to the OST, that is why Russia was forced to take measures to protect its national security interests and begin the procedure of withdrawal from the Treaty (to be completed by 18 December this year).

49. We continue to underline the unique role of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea as a universal instrument creating a comprehensive legal regime for international cooperation of States in the World Ocean. We highly appreciate the work of such conventional mechanisms as the Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf, the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea and the International Seabed Authority. We believe it is vital that they work strictly within their mandates under the Convention avoiding any broad interpretation of the competence granted to them or politicising their decisions.

50. The Russian Federation supports the work of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) as the main judicial body of the United Nations and is ready to assist the creation of conditions enabling its effective and unbiased functioning.

We closely follow the situation around the implementation of the provisions of the UNGA resolution of May 22, 2019 concerning the Chagos Archipelago, adopted in accordance with the relevant advisory opinion of the ICJ. We view the above-mentioned General Assembly decision in the context of the completion of the decolonisation processes.

Elections to the ICJ are planned for the autumn of 2023 at the Security Council and the 78th session of the UNGA. The Russian group in the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) decided to nominate sitting judge K.Gevorgyan for re-election to the ICJ for the period 2024-2033. We are counting on the support of our candidate by the Member States of the Organisation in the forthcoming elections.

51. The Russian Federation facilitates the work of the International Law Commission (ILC) which contributes significantly to the codification and progressive development of international law. We believe that the UN should further build on its most valuable outputs.

In the autumn of 2021, during the 76th session of the UN General Assembly, elections to the ILC are scheduled to take place. The Russian Federation nominated the current member of the Commission, Director of the Legal Department of the MFA of Russia E.Zagaynov, for re-election to the Commission for the period 2023–2027. We hope that the UN Member States will support our candidate in the upcoming elections.

52. The credibility of the International Criminal Court (ICC) is steadily declining. It is becoming more politically biased and one-sided. We note the low quality of its work and the lack of any tangible contribution to conflict settlement.

53. We underline that the mandate of the Residual Mechanism is strictly limited, and it is necessary to complete its activity as soon as possible. We have to acknowledge yet again that the Mechanism inherited the worst practices from the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia, which is demonstrated by its consistent anti-Serbian attitudes. We monitor respect for the rights of persons accused and convicted by the Residual Mechanism. We do not consider it expedient at this point to establish new judicial bodies of this kind.

54. We continue to assume the legal nullity of the International, Impartial and Independent Mechanism to Assist in the Investigation and Prosecution of Persons Responsible for the Most Serious Crimes under International Law Committed in the Syrian Arab Republic since March 2011 established by the UN General Assembly acting beyond its authority. We object to the funding of the Mechanism from the UN regular budget and to the Mechanism gaining access to the archives of the OPCW-UN Joint Mechanism.

55. We continue to regard the issue of “the rule of law” with an emphasis on its international dimension, i.e. the primacy of international law, particularly the UN Charter. We continue to oppose attempts to use it to interfere in the internal affairs of sovereign States under the pretext of strengthening the “rule of law” at the national level.

Given the confrontational incorporation of the permanent item “responsibility to protect” (R2P) in the UNGA agenda, we underline the loss of the consensual nature of this concept. We will continue to block attempts to legitimise it.

56. It is States that bear the primary responsibility for promoting and protecting human rights, while the UN executive structures are to play a supporting role. We believe that equal cooperation between States based on the rule of international law, respect for sovereignty and equality of States should be the main principle in the work of the United Nations to promote and protect human rights. It is inadmissible to duplicate the work of the main bodies of the United Nations through unjustified integration of the human rights agenda into all areas of the UN activities. We are against strengthening the link between the UN Human Rights Council (HRC) and the UN Security Council. We oppose attempts to reform the HRC in order to turn it into a quasi-judicial monitoring mechanism.

We consider it unacceptable to include politicised country-specific resolutions and topics outside the scope of their mandate in the agenda of United Nations human rights mechanisms. We condemn the use of human rights issues as a pretext for interfering in the internal affairs of States and undermining the principles of international law. It is in this light that we regard the resolution on the situation of human rights in Crimea, which, since 2016, has been regularly submitted to the Third Committee of the UN General Assembly by the Ukrainian delegation. This document has nothing to do with the actual situation in this region of the Russian Federation. We will vote against this resolution during the 76th session of the UNGA, and we call on our partners to do the same.

The work of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) should become more transparent and accountable to the UN Member States in order to avoid politically motivated approaches to assessing human rights situations in different countries.

We will continue to promote intercivilisational, intercultural and interreligious dialogue and due respect for the diversity of cultures, civilisations, traditions and historical developments in the promotion and protection of human rights.

57. We strongly condemn all forms and manifestations of discrimination. The ban on discrimination enshrined in international human rights instruments is universal and applies to all persons without exception. We see no value added in defining new vulnerable groups (such as members of the LGBT community, human rights activists, bloggers) that allegedly require a special legal protection regime or new categories of rights. Such steps by a number of countries only lead to de-universalization of legal protection regimes and increased politicisation and confrontation within the UN human rights mechanisms.

58. Active practical work in the area of social development aimed at eradicating poverty, promoting social integration, ensuring full employment and decent work for all will facilitate effective implementation of the decisions adopted at the World Summit for Social Development and the 24th special session of the UN General Assembly.

We consider the UN Commission for Social Development to be the main UN coordinating body that develops framework for harmonised actions on general issues of social protection, ensuring equal opportunities for persons with disabilities, problems of ageing population, improving the situation of young people and strengthening the role of the traditional family. We resolutely oppose any initiatives that undermine its role, as well as the calls for its dissolution.

59. The United Nations Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) remains the main intergovernmental platform for discussion of a broad range of issues relating to improvement of the status of women and achieving gender equality in particular. We believe it is important to avoid politicization of these issues or their automatic inclusion into the UN documents focusing on other topics. Special attention in documents on improving the status of women should be devoted to social and economic rights, as well as social protection and support for women and their families.

We believe that gender equality issues should be taken into account in the work of the UN system in a balanced manner, without absolute prioritisation or selective use.

We commend the work of UN Women which should render assistance only within the framework of its mandate, upon request and with the consent of the States concerned. We will continue to interact actively with it within the framework of the Executive Board.

60. We reaffirm the need for strengthening international cooperation in the promotion and protection of the rights of the child on the basis of the Convention on the Rights of the Child and the outcome document of the 27th special session of the United Nations General Assembly entitled “A World Fit for Children”. We consider unacceptable attempts by a number of countries to deprive parents and legal guardians of their role in the upbringing of children and the development of their potential, including by granting young children autonomy in their decision-making. Programmes to support the family in its traditional sense, to ensure access to education and healthcare are important for the successful upbringing of children.

We devote close attention to the problem of children in armed conflict. We support the mandate of the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict and develop cooperation with her, including as part of the programme for repatriation of Russian children from Syria and Iraq.

61. We support discussion at the United Nations General Assembly of the problems of interreligious and intercultural interaction and the development of intercivilisational dialogue, especially within the framework of the Alliance of Civilisations (AoC). We regard the establishment of a culture of peace as an essential prerequisite for peaceful co-existence and global cooperation for the sake of peace and development.

We are actively preparing for holding the World Conference on Intercultural and Interreligious Dialogue (St Petersburg, May 2022).

62. We are ready for the cooperation on the UN agenda issues with all interested relevant non-governmental organizations. Their involvement in the work of the United Nations should take place within the framework of the established practice, which requires the obligatory consent of Member States. We encourage the adequate representation of the Russian non-governmental corps in the activities of the relevant segments, bodies and structures of the United Nations.

63. To overcome the consequences of migration crises affecting individual countries and regions of the world, global efforts are required under the central coordinating role of the United Nations.

We commend the work of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) on ensuring more effective international protection for refugees and other categories of persons under its responsibility. We consider the work of the UNHCR particularly important in situations of major humanitarian crises.

Russia makes a significant contribution to international efforts to improve the situation of refugees, including by accepting forcibly displaced persons from Ukraine and also through programmes for the return of Syrian refugees to their homeland. Each year our country voluntarily contributes some $2 million to the UNHCR budget.

We reaffirm our commitment to the Global Compact on Refugees (GCR) and the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration, which should form the basis of comprehensive long-term cooperation aimed at creating legal channels for migration and countering irregular flows.

Russia took an active part in the first meeting of the Global Refugee Forum. We expect that this platform will help to attract the attention of the international community to the problems of refugees and to consolidate efforts to implement the GCR.

We welcome the strengthening of the UN migration pillar under the coordinating role of the International Organisation for Migration (IOM). We support a comprehensive approach of the UNHCR and IOM to the prevention of the spread of COVID-19 among persons of concern. We are convinced that one of the effective measures to combat the pandemic should be large-scale vaccination of the population, including forcibly displaced persons.

We note the effectiveness of the UNHCR’s work with Syrian refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs). We look forward to the world community pursuing a non-politicized approach in dealing with this issue and providing greater assistance in rebuilding infrastructure and ensuring conditions for their early return.

We appreciate and contribute, including financially, to the UNHCR’s efforts to address the catastrophic humanitarian consequences of the internal Ukrainian crisis. We support the UNHCR programmes aimed at eliminating statelessness, in particular in European countries.

We are interested in the UNHCR facilitating the return of IDPs and refugees to Nagorny Karabakh and the surrounding areas.

64. We consider the Georgian UNGA resolution on the status of internally displaced persons and refugees from Abkhazia and South Ossetia to be counter-productive and to entail the risk of aggravating the situation “on the ground” and further stalling the Geneva discussions, which remain the only negotiation platform enabling direct dialogue between the representatives of Abkhazia, South Ossetia and Georgia. We also note that at a time when the Abkhaz and South Ossetian representatives are deprived of the opportunity to convey their position to the General Assembly because of the systematic refusal of the United States authorities to grant them entry visas, discussions in New York on the topic of “refugees from Abkhazia and South Ossetia” without their direct participation are meaningless.

65. We consistently advocate for the strengthening of UNESCO‘s international standing. We believe that the adaptation of UNESCO’s working methods to the emerging challenges, including in the context of the new coronavirus pandemic, should be in line with the intergovernmental nature of the Organisation and be based on unconditional compliance with the provisions of the UNESCO Constitution, rules of procedure and directives of the decision-making bodies.

We oppose to the artificial integration of human rights issues in UNESCO’s activities in order to avoid duplication of functions of other UN specialised agencies. We aim to increase the effectiveness of the Organisation by depoliticising it and removing from its agenda issues of territorial integrity and sovereignty that do not belong to it.

Russia contributes significantly to UNESCO activities. In 2022, Kazan, the capital of Tatarstan, will host one of the largest and most significant UNESCO events – the 45th Anniversary Session of the World Heritage Committee, which will coincide with the 50th anniversary of the 1972 Convention concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage.

66. We view cooperation in sports and the promotion of sport ideals worldwide as effective ways to foster respect and mutual understanding among nations.

We believe that politicisation of sports and discrimination of athletes, including Paralympians, in the form of collective punishment are unacceptable. We advocate the development of a universal system of international sports cooperation based on the principles of independence and autonomy of sports.

67.    In the context of international cooperation to address social and economic consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic, we support intensified efforts to implement the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (the 2030 Agenda) as a holistic and balanced strategy to guide the work of the UN in the social, economic, environmental and related fields. We underline the integrated, non-politicised and indivisible nature of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), with poverty eradication being the key objective.

We support stronger coordination between the UNGA and ECOSOC, including through the dialogue platform of the High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF). The HLPF is designed to serve as a forum that brings together all stakeholders, including members of the business community (not only NGOs), to review the progress made in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda at the global level. Russia’s first Voluntary National Review on the implementation of the SDGs presented in 2020 has been a significant contribution to these efforts.

We promote a balanced approach in the energy sector with a focus on ensuring universal access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy sources in line with SDG 7. We recognise the urgent need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, while believing that it should be fulfilled not only through the transition to renewable energy sources but also through the introduction of advanced low-carbon technologies in the use of all types of energy sources, including fossil fuels. In this context, we advocate increased use of natural gas as the most environmentally acceptable fossil fuel, as well as the recognition of nuclear power and hydropower as clean energy sources due to the absence of a carbon footprint. In this spirit, we intend to ensure Russia’s participation in the High-Level Dialogue on Energy in September 2021.

68.    We will continue to uphold the basic parameters for international humanitarian assistance outlined in UNGA resolution 46/182 and other decisions of the General Assembly and ECOSOC. We will oppose revision of fundamental principles, in particular the respect for the sovereignty of an affected state and the need to obtain its consent for assistance. We will continue to urge UN humanitarian agencies to act as “honest brokers” and base their work on carefully verified data about the humanitarian situation “on the ground”.

We are concerned about the worsening of humanitarian crises triggered by the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. As humanitarian needs grow considerably, we believe it crucial to avoid politicising humanitarian assistance.

69.    We condemn individual countries’ practice of imposing unilateral coercive measures contrary to the United Nations Charter and international law. We therefore support the idea of joining efforts of sanctioned countries in line with the Russian President’s initiative to create sanctions-free “green corridors” to provide countries with access to medicines and essential goods.

70.    We call for accelerated implementation of the Addis-Ababa Action Agenda decisions on financing for development in order to mobilise and make effective use of resources to achieve the SDGs.

We support the principle of prioritising the interests of international development assistance recipients. We offer assistance to interested countries based on a de-politicised approach, promoting domestic innovation and expertise.

We recognise the importance of reaching international consensus on global taxation, in particular in the fight against tax evasion. We support the increased intergovernmental cooperation in curbing illicit financial flows and repatriation of income generated from illegal activities.

71.    We oppose attempts by individual countries to reduce socio-economic development solely to the achievement of environmental protection goals, namely climate change. We see such a one-sided position as an indication of unfair competition and trade protectionism, which are inconsistent with the World Trade Organisation (WTO) principles of a universal, open, non-discriminatory multilateral trading system.

72.    We welcome the further strengthening of the work of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat) to achieve sustainable development of the United Nations.

We support the consolidation of UNEP’s role as the key universal intergovernmental platform establishing the integrated global environmental agenda.

We advocate greater efficiency and stronger financial discipline within UN-Habitat as part of the Programme’s structural reform implemented in accordance with resolution 73/239 of the General Assembly.

We stress the need for strict adherence to the principle of equitable geographical representation in the staffing of UNEP and UN-Habitat and the inadmissibility of politicisation of these programmes’ mandates.

73.    We stand for the continued leadership of the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO), the UN World Food Programme (WFP) and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) in coordinating international efforts to eliminate hunger, improve nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture. We will encourage these Rome-based organisations to engage in a closer inter-agency cooperation within the UN system in addressing these issues.

In practical terms, we are actively involved in preparations for the 2021 UN Food Systems Summit. We expect it to deliver a comprehensive analysis of optimal agri-food chain models to help eradicate hunger and improve food security, including the provision of healthy food for the population. We believe that commonly agreed and universally supported sectoral approaches and proposals should be reflected in the Summit outcome documents in a balanced way. We hope that the upcoming event will set the course for the transformation of global food systems, particularly in the context of overcoming the consequences of the new coronavirus pandemic, and give further impetus to the implementation of the 2030 Agenda.

We pay careful attention to preventing the risk of a food crisis, namely in view of the negative impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. We will continue to provide humanitarian food aid to countries most in need, first of all to those of the former Soviet Union, as well as in Africa and Latin America.

74.    We attach great importance to the work carried out by the UNGA to support the multilateral efforts in combating the COVID-19 pandemic and overcoming its impact. We advocate a universal, equitable, fair and unhindered access to medical technologies as well as safe, high-quality, effective and affordable vaccines and medicines for the new coronavirus infection.

We consider increasing global preparedness and response capacity for health emergencies to be a priority task. We are ready for a constructive dialogue with all partners in the framework of the relevant formats. Yet we believe that the World Health Organisation (WHO) should continue to be the main forum for discussing global health issues.

We consistently support WHO as the focal point for the international human health cooperation. We call for enhancing the efficiency of its work through increased transparency and accountability to Member States.

75.    We will further strengthen the multi-stakeholder partnership for disaster risk reduction under the Sendai Framework 2015–2030. Amid the ongoing pandemic, we believe that special attention should be paid to building States’ capacity to respond to emergencies, including in health care.

76.    We seek to keep down the growth of the UN regular programme budget for 2022, as well as estimates for peacekeeping operations and the International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals. We propose targeted and justified reductions in requested resources. Any requests for additional funding should first undergo careful internal scrutiny. At the same time, the Secretariat should step up its efforts to improve the efficiency of its working methods in order to minimise the associated costs of achieving UN’s objectives. We insist on stronger accountability, strict budgetary discipline and improved transparency in the Secretariat’s work.

77.    Ensuring parity among the six official UN languages in conference services and information and communication activities remains one of the priorities in our interaction with the Organisation’s Secretariat. The principle of multilingualism should be given primary consideration when implementing all media projects and information campaigns as well as allocating financial and human resources to the language services of the UN Secretariat.

How to Undermine a Diplomatic Triumph

About me

26 July 2021

by Lawrence Davidson

Part I—The Backstory

The true status of current negotiations to reinstate the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) with Iran is unknown to the American public—most of whom are tragically indifferent to the outcome. This is so even though the successful negotiation of this deal with Iran back in 2015 represents one of the greatest triumphs of diplomacy in the last hundred years. What we do know is this triumph was followed by tragedy—a premeditated tragedy—the sort of tragedy only fools can produce. But very few Americans care. That is the way it is with foreign policy. On the one hand, you can start wars to great public acclaim, and on the other, you can destroy hard-won diplomatic achievements almost without public notice. 

At the end of President Obama’s term of office (January 2017) the JCPOA was complete and in force. In exchange for a lifting of “nuclear-related sanctions,” Iran undertook not to pursue research that might allow her to develop nuclear weapons. Up until May of 2018 “Iran’s compliance has been repeatedly verified by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), which oversees the most intrusive inspections regime ever negotiated.” It was in May of 2018 that Donald Trump, perhaps the most despicable human being to hold the presidency since Andrew Jackson, withdrew from the JCPOA, apparently for two reasons: (1) was the treaty was completed by Obama and Trump wanted to destroy the achievements of his non-white predecessor, and (2) Trump thought he could bully the Iranians into a “better deal.” It is important to note that the other signatories to the treaty did not initially follow Trump’s lead. “The leaders of France, the United Kingdom, and Germany issued a joint statement on behalf of their countries that reemphasized their support for the deal and its importance to the nonproliferation regime.” The United Nations expressed “deep concern” over Trump’s decision and released a statement in support of the JCPOA. Russia’s Foreign Ministry also reiterated its support for the JCPOA, and further stated that “U.S. actions compromise international trust in the IAEA.”

How did the Iranians react to Trump’s withdrawal from the treaty and reimposition of harsh sanctions? At first, Tehran suggested that if the other signatories to the agreement would remain loyal to their obligations, Iran too would keep to the treaty. Unfortunately, most of the European nations involved would soon succumb to U.S. economic pressure and cease to hold to their obligations. Nonetheless, it was not until a year following Trump’s irresponsible act that Iran announced that “The Islamic Republic of Iran in reaction to the exit of America from the nuclear deal and the bad promises of European countries in carrying out their obligations will restart a part of the nuclear activities which were stopped under the framework of the nuclear deal.” Even while the Iranian government took this position, it insisted that if at any time the United States returned to the treaty and removed all nuclear-related sanctions, Iran too would return to its obligations. Tehran even suggested a process whereby the U.S. and Iran would take simultaneous steps to that end. 

Everyone but Trump devotees, Israel and its supporters, and those Iranian exiles who would like to see the return of the country’s monarchy recognized that the U.S. withdrawal from the JCPOA had been a mistake. Accordingly, in the campaign run-up to the 2020 presidential election in the U.S., the Democratic candidate, Joe Biden, promised that upon election he would rejoin the treaty if Iran returned to compliance as well. 

Biden did win, but he has not yet fulfilled his promise. Instead, he entered an extended period of negotiations that is still ongoing. At first it was said that these were about “who goes first” when it comes to returning to requirements of the treaty. Was Iran to give up the small steps in nuclear enrichment since the Trump withdrawal, or was the U.S. going to go first in removing the draconian sanctions placed on Iran by the Trump administration? It was Iran who realized the childish nature of this question and offered a simultaneous return to the compliance mentioned above. While the Biden administration rejected this offer, it has been reported that now both sides are working toward “simultaneous, sequential steps” back to requirements of the treaty. 


Part II—Misleading the American Public


In the meantime, the Biden administration has been releasing misinformation to the public. For instance, Biden has insisted that sanctions relief depends on Iran “returning to compliance.” But, of course, for anyone familiar with the relevant events, it was Washington that broke the treaty and needed to return to compliance. Any subsequent Iranian actions following Trump’s folly were, and still are, perfectly legal under the terms of the JCPOA. Joe Biden can continue to justify draconian economic sanctions in this way—sanctions that are ruining the lives of millions—only because he is addressing an ignorant American audience. 

When Iran failed to be bullied, Biden’s diplomats adopted a “shift the blame” tactic. In May 2021, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said “Iran, I think, knows what it needs to do to come back into compliance on the nuclear side, and what we haven’t yet seen is whether Iran is ready and willing to make a decision to do what it has to do. That’s the test and we don’t yet have an answer.” Translation: the American people should know that we, the Biden administration, are trying, but those Iranians seem to be too thick-headed to do what is necessary. So if the whole thing fails, it is their fault and not ours. 

Blinken went on, “If both sides can return to the original deal, then we can use that as a foundation both to look at how to make the deal itself potentially longer and stronger—and also [to] engage on these other issues, whether it’s Iran’s support for terrorism [or] its destabilizing support for different proxies throughout the Middle East.”

That scenario will not encourage the Iranians. They have repeatedly stated that the JCPOA, and the present negotiations, are about two things: sanctions and the scope of nuclear development. It is not about Iranian foreign policy, which has been so blandly assumed to be “terrorism” by both Trump and Biden. If Mr. Blinken keeps tagging on these extras, we will still be running in circles come Christmas.   

What is the diplomatic aim of the Biden administration? Is it to pursue the Democrats’ traditional, and bankrupt, aim of sounding as tough on foreign policy as the Republicans? That irrelevant goal (remember most Americans don’t care about foreign policy) would not be surprising coming from a professional Democratic politician of Joe Biden’s generation. However, after all the work that has gone into the JCPOA and all the suffering endured by the Iranian population due to brutal U.S. sanctions, such a petty motive reflects the mentality of a street gang competing with rivals, rather than the peaceful ends of an alleged civilized society. 

With statements like this, Secretary of State Blinken transforms himself into someone we might mistake for a

Fox News TV anchor. It would seem that many who pride themselves on eschewing Fox’s lies are ready to swallow whole Mr. Blinken’s bunk. 

Part III—An Israeli Connection?

We know that ex-Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu and ex-President Trump were in agreement on Iran policy. In this regard, all the yelling and screaming about Iran’s nuclear program carried on by both men hid their real goal. Particularly for Netanyahu, the hyperbole was aimed at creating a “credible reason” to force regime change in Iran, even if it meant a U.S. invasion. Essentially, the model here was Iraq. Netanyahu was ready to pursue this end till the last dying American soldier. Obviously, the JCPOA was a major obstacle in that path. So was Barack Obama, who thought he was helping Israel and the world in general by negotiating the treaty. 

Now Netanyahu and Trump are gone from office. However, why should we believe that the new Israeli government has changed the ultimate goal? And why should we believe that Joe Biden—who is, as he never fails to remind us, an “ironclad” Zionist—will really follow in Obama’s footsteps?

In June, Israel sent some of its highest-ranking leaders to see Biden. These included Israeli President Reuven Rivlin and Defense Minister Benny Gantz. Both meetings were basically about Iran. “Iran will never get a nuclear weapon on my watch,” Biden told Rivlin. This was billed as a “stark warning” to Iran—a country which has, for religious as well as other reasons, disavowed the desire for such a weapon. How many Americans know this? Does President Biden know this?

Many scholars and other experts in Middle East policy believe that “Mr. Biden’s calculations are rooted in a different era of American-Israeli relations—when Israel’s security concerns commanded far more attention than Palestinian grievances.” This is true. But there is a more personal connection. Biden personally identifies with Israel like no other U.S. president since Lyndon Johnson. He collects yarmulkes and is reported to have knelt down in an impromptu “show of respect” after learning that Rivka Ravitz, President Rivlin’s Orthodox chief of staff, was the mother of 12 children. The Israeli Orthodox Jews often have such large families out of fear of a “demographic holocaust”—that is, the consequences of the Palestinians’ much higher birth rate than that of most Israeli Jews. Finally, Biden has completely accepted the highly debatable notion that world Jewry, many of whom are not Zionists, cannot be safe apart from the existence of Israel. 

Those same experts also believe that, when it comes to Israel, President Biden’s approach has much to do with domestic politics. Thus, getting back to the JCPOA is less important than catering to the desires of the Israel Lobby. This only makes sense for a politician born and bred to the power of that lobby.

Part IV—Conclusion


The U.S. and Israeli leaders are suffering from a group-think environment and tunnel vision, all shaped in good part by political pressure generated by dominant special interests.  At least in this instance, one cannot say the same for the Iranians who, though led by a rigid religious elite, broke through their tunnel vision and joined the JCPOA treaty. The present stalemate is the work of American ideologues tied hand and foot to a major U.S. lobby. 

Outside the tunnel one can see the obvious answer to the present stalemate. Having been polite and empathetic toward Rivlin and Gantz, Joe Biden should ask over to the Oval Office an outsider, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres. At the end of June Guterres said, “I appeal to the United States to lift or waive its sanctions outlined in the plan.” He also appealed to Iran to return to full implementation of the deal. Right from the beginning of Biden’s election, the Iranians have been willing to follow Guterres’s lead. It is Biden who has temporized while being encouraged by his confidants from Jerusalem. 

مفاوضات فيينا: بين التراجع الأميركي والقلق الصهيوني وتوازن القوى الجديد The Vienna Negotiations: Between American Retreat, Zionist Anxiety, and the New Balance of Power

* Please scroll down for the ADJUSTED English Machine translation *


مفاوضات فيينا: بين التراجع الأميركي والقلق الصهيوني وتوازن القوى الجديد


 حسن حردان

ارتفع منسوب القلق في كيان العدو الصهيوني، مع توارد الأنباء عن قرب توصل مفاوضات فيينا الى اتفاق على العودة المتزامنة من قبل الولايات المتحدة والجمهورية الإسلامية الإيرانية إلى الالتزام بالاتفاق النووي كما نص عليه عام 2015، وهي الصيغة التي يجري وضع اللمسات الأخيرة عليها وتقضي بأن تقوم واشنطن برفع كلّ العقوبات عن إيران والعودة إلى الالتزام بالاتفاق وتأكد طهران من هذا الالتزام، وفي المقابل تقوم إيران بالعودة عن خطواتها التي اتخذتها بالتخلي عن التزاماتها بموجب الاتفاق، انْ لناحية وقف التخصيب بنسبة 60 بالمئة والعودة إلى التزام نسبة 3,67 بالمئة، أو لناحية السماح لمفتشي وكالة الطاقة الدولية بالعودة الى ممارسة عملهم في مراقبة البرنامج النووي.

هذا التطور أحدث صدمة وقلقاً داخل كيان الاحتلال الصهيوني، وأثار انقساماً في اجتماع الكابينيت، المجلس الوزاري المصغر، حول طريقة التعامل مع هذا التطور الذي اعتبر «إسرائيلياً» بأنه يشكل تنازلاً أميركياً أمام إيران، يلحق الضرر بـ «إسرائيل» وحلفائها من بعض الحكومات العربية… ولهذا حذّرت مجموعة كبيرة من المسؤولين السابقين في الاستخبارات «الإسرائيلية» والجيش وهيئات إنفاذ القانون، بايدن من التسرّع في إبرام اتفاق نووي مع إيران.

المجموعة التي ضمّت 2000 مسؤول رفيع المستوى، قالت في رسالة إلى بايدن، إنّ «التسرّع في التفاوض مع إيران يعرّض «إسرائيل» وحلفاءها العرب الجدد للخطر بشكل مباشر».

وأفاد موقع «واشنطن فري بيكون» أنّ الرسالة التي صاغها «منتدى الدفاع والأمن الإسرائيلي»، تُعدّ إشارة واضحة على أنّ «إسرائيل» وحلفاءها العرب في المنطقة متحدون في معارضة جهود إدارة بايدن للانضمام مرة أخرى إلى الاتفاق النووي. واعتبروا أنّ الاتفاق النووي الإيراني معيب ويعد تهديداً مباشراً للاستقرار الإقليمي…

لكن الأسئلة التي تطرح في هذا السياق هي:

أولاً، لماذا قرّرت واشنطن العودة إلى الاتفاق النووي كما وقع عام 2015 طالما انه يشكل ضرراً لحلفاء أميركا في المنطقة وفي المقدمة الكيان الصهيوني؟

وثانياً، لماذا يعتبر المسؤولون الصهاينة عودة العمل بالاتفاق النووي يلحق ضرراً بالكيان الصهيوني وحلفائه من الأنظمة العربية؟

وثالثاً، ما هي النتائج التي ستترتب على التوصل لهذا الاتفاق وفق الشروط الإيرانية؟

أ ـ انّ قرار إدارة الرئيس الأميركي جو بايدن العودة إلى الاتفاق النووي وقبول شروط إيران برفع كامل العقوبات بالتزامن مع عودة طهران للالتزام بالمثل بنصوص الاتفاق، حسب الأنباء الواردة من مفاوضات فيينا، لم يكن ليتمّ لو كان لدى الإدارة خيارات أخرى أفضل… بل انّ واشنطن تقدم على التراجع أمام ايران، حسب ما يرشح من مفاوضات فيينا، نتيجة انسداد الخيارات الأخرى أمامها ووصولها إلى قناعة بأنّ خيار العودة إلى الاتفاق وعدم الاستمرار في محاولات الضغط لتعديله أو تجزئة رفع العقوبات المفروضة على إيران، إنما يشكل أقلّ الخيارات سوءاً بالنسبة للسياسة الأميركية… لماذا؟

لأنّ خيار مواصلة سياسة الحصار والعقوبات لم يعد يجدي نفعاً بعد أن نجحت إيران في إجهاض أهداف الحصار، من خلال :اعتماد سياسات اقتصادية تنموية عزّزت…ـ الاكتفاء الذاتي… وإقامة علاقات اقتصادية مع دول ترفض سياسة الهيمنة الأميركية، لا سيما روسيا والصين، والتي كان آخرها الاتفاقية الاستراتيجية بين طهران وبكين والتي شكلت ضربة موجعة لسياسة الهيمنة الأميركية وأسقطت الحصار الأميركي على إيران بالضربة القاضية كونها أمّنت لإيران تصدير نفطها بكميات كبيرة ومنتظَمة على مدى 25 سنة واستثمارات صينية في شتى المجالات تناهز الـ 450 مليار دولار، هذا إلى جانب توطيد علاقات التنسيق والتعاون الاقتصادي والأمني مع روسيا وإقامة علاقات اقتصادية مع دول جمهوريات آسيا الوسطى لا سيما، دول جوار بحر قزوين مما أدّى إلى تحرّر إيران من تأثير العلاقات مع الغرب، وأوجد بدائل جديدة تجعل طهران قادرة على تأمين احتياجاتها وتصدير منتجاتها من دون الخضوع للابتزاز الذي تمارسه الدول الغربية…

أما الخيار العسكري فإنّ إدارة بايدن تدرك جيداً بأنه محفوف بالمخاطر الكبيرة على الوجود والمصالح الأميركية في المنطقة وعلى أمن الكيان الصهيوني… بسبب القدرات العسكرية الرادعة التي تملكها إيران وحلفائها في محور المقاومة…

في حين انّ خيار الحرب الأمنية غير المباشرة لتعطيل البرنامج النووي الإيراني لإضعاف موقف طهران وفرض الشروط عليها، لم يحقق أهدافه، بل أدّى إلى نتائج عكسية، حيث ردّت إيران على الهجوم الصهيوني التخريبي الذي استهدف مفاعل «نطنز»، بالعمل سريعاً على وضع جيل جديد متطوّر من أجهزة الطرد المركزي بدلاً من الأجهزة التي تضرّرت، ورفع نسبة تخصيب اليورانيوم من 20 بالمئة إلى 60 بالمئة مما عكس جاهزية إيران للمواجهة ونجاحها في تطوير قدراتها النووية وامتلاكها الاحتياطات اللازمة للتصدي لأيّ استهدافات أمنية للبرنامج النووي… وكان من الطبيعي أن يؤدّي هذا النجاح الإيراني إلى تعزيز موقف إيران ورفع سقف وشروط التفاوض من قبلها مع مجموعة 4  + 1 من ناحية، وانسداد أيّ أفق أمام واشنطن لتحسين شروط عودتها إلى الالتزام بالاتفاق النووي من ناحية ثانية… وبالتالي اضطرارها إلى التراجع وإبداء المرونة أمام إيران بالتخلي عن الرهان لتعديل شروط العودة للاتفاق والقبول بالعودة المتزامنة غير المشروطة المقرونة برفع العقوبات دفعة واحدة كما تطالب طهران…

ب ـ انّ قلق المسؤولين الصهانية من عودة واشنطن إلى الاتفاق النووي بالشروط التي ترضى إيران، إنما مردّه إلى جملة أسباب:

السبب الأول، إدراك تل أبيب بأنّ الجمهورية الإسلامية الإيرانية ستحقق انتصاراً جديداً في معركتها لتكريس استقلالها والحفاظ على برنامجها النووي والحصول على المنافع الاقتصادية التي ينص عليها الاتفاق من دون إدخال أيّ تعديلات على الاتفاق سعت إليها حكومة بنيامين نتنياهو دون جدوى.. وهذا يعني أنّ إيران الثورة ستصبح في وضع أقوى داخلياً وخارجياً حيث سيتحسّن الوضع الاقتصادي الإيراني بشكل كبير وينعكس ذلك بتحسين قيمة العملة الإيرانية وبالتالي تحسّن الوضعين الاجتماعي والمعيشي للشعب الإيراني الأمر الذي يزيد من التفافه حول قيادته، ويضعف الجهات المرتبطة بالخارج التي كانت تسعى الى استغلال الضائقة الاقتصادية نتيجة الحصار لتأليب الناس ضدّ نظام الجمهورية الإسلامية… ومن الطبيعي انّ تَحسّن الوضع الاقتصادي ومستوى معيشة الشعب سوف ينعكس بتعزيز موقف إيران السياسي واستطراداً دورها على الساحتين الإقليمية والدولية…

السبب الثاني، إدراك المسؤولين الصهيانية أنّ تنامي قوة إيران الاقتصادية واستعادتها لوارداتها النفطية، والاستثمارات الخارجية التي ستحصل في إيران، وارتفاع معدلات النمو في الاقتصاد والدخل على حدّ سواء، سوف تمكن إيران من زيادة قدراتها على دعم حلفائها في محور المقاومة، مما يقوّي من قدراتهم في مواجهة قوى الإرهاب المدعومة أميركياً، ومن الاحتلال الصهيوني…

السبب الثالث، قلق الصهاينة من التحوّل الذي ستحدثه عودة واشنطن إلى الاتفاق النووي بالشروط الإيرانية، على صعيد موازين القوى الإقليمية، في مصلحة المحور المناهض للهيمنة الأميركية، على حساب المحور الموالي لهذه الهيمنة والذي يضمّ الكيان الصهيوني وحلفاءه من الأنظمة الرجعية التابعة والتي بات يرتبط بعضها باتفاقيات مع كيان العدو… مما يضعف هذه الأنظمة ويجعلها مضطرة إلى التوقف عن مواصلة سياسة العداء لإيران والبحث عن سبل تطبيع العلاقات معها، وفي هذا السياق يمكن وضع الأنباء التي تحدّثت عن بدء حوار سعودي إيراني برعاية عراقية.. والذي تزامن مع الأنباء عن قرب التوصل إلى اتفاق في فيبنا لإعادة العمل بالاتفاق النووي… وتفاقم المأزق السعودي في اليمن بفعل نجاح المقاومة اليمنية في مواصلة توجيه ضربات موجعة القواعد والمنشآت الحيوية العسكرية والنفطية في قلب المملكة.

ج ـ انّ إنجاز الاتفاق بالشروط الإيرانية المدعومة روسياً وصينياً، سوف يكرّس المعادلات الجديدة على الصعيد العالمي، والتي تأتي نتيجة فشل الحروب الأميركية في تحقيق أهدافها لناحية إضعاف إيران وإسقاط الدولة الوطنية السورية والقضاء على قوى المقاومة وإعادة إخضاع العراق للهيمنة الأميركية، وصولاً إلى عزل إيران والعمل على تطويعها، ومحاصرة روسيا والصين، وإحباط تطلعاتهما لإقامة نظام دولي متعدّد الأقطاب…

انّ إخفاق الحروب الأميركية وفشل أهدافها المذكورة، أدّى إلى خروج دول وقوى محور المقاومة أكثر قوّة وقدرة، والى تعزيز قوة إيران السند الأساسي لهذا المحور، وعودة روسيا بقوة إلى الساحة الدولية كلاعب أساسي انطلاقاً من انتصار سورية ومساهمتها في هذا الانتصار في مواجهة الحرب الإرهابية الكونية التي شنّتها أميركا بوساطة جيوش الإرهاب القاعدي والداعشي…

 انّ هذا التحوّل سوف يجعل الكيان الصهيوني محاصراً ببيئة استراتيجية جديدة من محور المقاومة الممتدّ من لبنان مروراً بسورية والعراق وغزة واليمن وصولاً إلى إيران، فيما الولايات المتحدة الداعم الأول للكيان الصهيوني تتراجع هيمنتها في المنطقة وعلى الصعيد الدولي ولم تعد قادرة على شنّ حروب جديدة فيما هي تنسحب مهزومة من أفغانستان بعد أطول حرب خاضتها… واستطراداً فإنّ هذا التحوّل سوف ينعكس بتعزيز موقف روسيا والصين في السعي الى إقامة نظام عالمي جديد يقوم على التعددية القطبية بديلاً عن نظام الهيمنة الأميركي الأحادي القطب.. الذي لم يعد ينسجم مع موازين القوى الجديدة في العالم…


فيديوات متعلقة

مقالات متعلقة


The Vienna Negotiations: Between American Retreat, Zionist Anxiety, and the New Balance of Power

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Untitled-238.png

Hassan Hardan

The level of concern in the Zionist entity has risen, with reports that the Vienna negotiations have reached an agreement on the simultaneous return by the United States and the Islamic Republic of Iran to compliance with the nuclear agreement as stipulated in 2015, a formula that is being finalized and requires Washington to lift all sanctions on Iran and return to compliance In return, Iran is backing away from its steps to abandon its commitments under the agreement, with a 60 percent suspension of enrichment and a return to a 3.67 percent commitment, or allowing IAEA inspectors to return to their work monitoring the nuclear program.

This development caused shock and anxiety within the Zionist occupation entity, and sparked a split in the meeting of the cabinet, the mini-ministerial council, on how to deal with this development, which considered “Israeli” as a U.S. concession to Iran, hurting Israel and its Arab allies. That’s why a large group of former Israeli intelligence, military and law enforcement officials warned Biden not to rush into a nuclear deal with Iran.

The group of 2,000 senior officials said in a letter to Biden that “rushing to negotiate with Iran directly puts Israel and its new Arab allies at risk.”

According to the Washington Free Beacon, the letter, drafted by the Israel Defense and Security Forum, is a clear indication that Israel and its Arab allies in the region are united in opposing the Biden administration’s efforts to rejoin the nuclear deal. They considered the Iran nuclear deal flawed and a direct threat to regional stability…

But the questions asked in this contextare:

First, why did Washington decide to return to the nuclear deal as it signed in 2015 as long as it is harmful to America’s allies in the region and at the forefront of the Zionist entity?

Secondly, why do Zionist officials consider the return of the nuclear agreement to harm the Zionist entity and its Arab regime allies?

Thirdly, what are the consequences of reaching this agreement in accordance with Iranian conditions?

A: U.S. President Joe Biden’s administration’s decision to return to the nuclear deal and accept Iran’s terms of lifting all sanctions in conjunction with Tehran’s return to similar compliance with the terms of the agreement, according to reports from the Vienna negotiations, would not have been possible if the administration had other better options… Washington is even pushing back against Iran, as nominated from the Vienna negotiations, as a result of the blockage of other options before it and its conviction that the option of returning to the agreement and not continuing to try to pressure it to amend it or fragment the lifting of sanctions against Iran is the least bad option for U.S. policy… But why?

Because the option of continuing the policy of embargoes and sanctions no longer works after Iran succeeded in aborting the objectives of the embargo, by: Adoption of economic and development policies that have strengthened…- self-sufficiency, and the establishment of economic relations with countries that reject the policy of American hegemony, especially Russia and China, the latest of which was the strategic agreement between Tehran and Beijing, which constituted a painful blow to the US policy of hegemony and brought down the American blockade on Iran by a knockout because it has secured Iran to export its oil in large and regular quantities over a period of 25 years, and Chinese investments in various fields amounted to about 450 billion dollars, in addition to strengthening coordination relations and economic and security cooperation with Russia and establishing economic relations with the countries of the Central Asian republics, particularly the Caspian neighbors, which led to Iran’s liberation from the influence of relations with the West, and created new alternatives that would make Tehran able to secure its needs and export its products without being subject to blackmail by Western countries…

As for the military option, the Biden administration is well aware that it is too risky for U.S. presence and interests in the region and for the security of the Zionist entity, because of the deterrent military capabilities of Iran and its allies, while the option of indirect security war to disrupt Iran’s nuclear program to weaken Tehran’s position and impose conditions on it, did not achieve its objectives, but backfired, as Iran responded to the Zionist sabotage attack on the Natanz reactor, working quickly to develop a new generation of centrifuges instead of damaged devices, and raising uranium enrichment from 20 percent to 60 percent, reflecting Iran’s readiness to confront and its success in developing its nuclear capabilities and having the necessary precautions to counter any security targets of the nuclear program. It was only natural that this Iranian success would strengthen Iran’s position and raise the ceiling and conditions of its negotiations with the 4+1 group on the one hand, and block any horizon for Washington to improve the terms of its return to compliance with the nuclear agreement on the other. Thus, it has to back down and show flexibility for Iran to give up the bet to amend the terms of the return of the agreement and accept the simultaneous unconditional return coupled with the lifting of sanctions at once, as Tehran demands.

B:. The concern of Zionist officials about Washington’s return to the nuclear deal on the terms that satisfy Iran is due to a number of reasons:

The first reason is Tel Aviv’s realization that the Islamic Republic of Iran will achieve a new victory in its battle to consolidate its independence, maintain its nuclear program and obtain the economic benefits provided for by the agreement without any amendments to the agreement. This means that Iran revolution will become in a stronger situation internally and externally where the Iranian economic situation will improve significantly and this is reflected in the improvement of the value of the Iranian currency and thus improve the social and living situation of the Iranian people, which increases its rallying around his leadership, and weakens those associated abroad who were seeking to exploit the economic hardship as a result of the embargo to turn people against the regime of the Islamic Republic… It is natural that the improvement of the economic situation and the standard of living of the people will be reflected in strengthening Iran’s political position and increasing its role on the regional and international arenas.

The second reason, Zionist officials realize that Iran’s growing economic strength and recovery of its oil imports, foreign investment in Iran, and high growth rates in both the economy and income, will enable Iran to increase its capabilities to support its allies in the axis of resistance, strengthening their capabilities in the face of U.S.-backed terrorist forces, and the Zionist occupation…

The third reason, the Zionists are concerned about the transformation that Washington’s return to the nuclear agreement on Iranian terms will bring, in terms of regional power balances, in the interest of the anti-American axis, at the expense of the axis loyal to this hegemony, which includes the Zionist entity and its reactionary allies, some of which are now linked to agreements with the enemy entity… Weakening these regimes will forces them to stop hostility and look for ways to normalize relations with Iran, and in this context the news of the start of a Saudi-Iranian dialogue under Iraqi auspices which coincided with the news that an agreement was reached in Vienna to reintroduce the nuclear agreement. Moreover the Saudi impasse in Yemen has been exacerbated by the success of the Yemeni resistance in continuing to strike vital military and oil bases and facilities in the heart of the kingdom.

C:. Achieving of the agreement on Iranian terms backed by Russia and China will perpetuate the new equations globally, as a result of the failure of the U.S. wars to achieve their goals in terms of weakening Iran, overthrowing the Syrian national state, eliminating the forces of resistance and re-subjecting Iraq to American hegemony, leading to isolating Iran, the main support of resistance axis, and besieging Russia and China, and thwarting their aspirations to establish a multipolar international order.

The failure of the American wars and the failure of their aforementioned goals led to the strengthening Iran, and the emergence of the countries and forces of the axis of resistance more powerful and capable, and to the strong return of Russia to the international arena as a key player based on the victory of Syria and its contribution to this victory in the face of the global terrorist war that America launched it through the armies of al Qaeda and ISIS terrorism

This transformation will make the Zionist entity besieged by a new strategic environment from the axis of resistance extending from Lebanon through Syria, Iraq, Gaza and Yemen to Iran, while the United States, the first supporter of the Zionist entity, is retreating its hegemony in the region and internationally and is no longer able to wage new wars as it withdraws defeated from Afghanistan after the longest war it has fought… Furthermore, this shift will be reflected in strengthening Russia and China’s position in seeking a new multipolar world order as an alternative to America’s unipolar hegemony.


Related

Iran Won’t Hand Over Data to IAEA Until Sanctions Lifted – AEOI

Iran Won’t Hand Over Data to IAEA Until Sanctions Lifted - AEOI

By Staff, Agencies

Spokesman for Atomic Energy Organization of Iran [AEOI] Behrouz Kamalvandi said on Monday that Iran will not hand over data to the International Atomic Energy Agency [IAEA] until the US sanctions are lifted.

He made the remarks in briefing to the parliament National Security and Foreign Policy Commission hearing.

Kamalvandi said that some representatives had questions about the agreement between
the AEOI and the IAEA and that he gave explanation on the issue in the hearing.

The spokesman added that the agreement with IAEA was compliant to parliament’s legislation requiring the government to halt Additional Protocol and inspections beyond the IAEA Safeguards Agreement.

Kamalvandi added that Iran gave three-month moratorium to end the voluntary acceptance of the IAEA Additional Protocol and IAEA agreed that Iran would save nuclear information by itself until three months later and then, if sanctions were lifted, the information would be handed to the IAEA; otherwise, all the information would be deleted.

During the three-month moratorium, according to Kamalvandi, no access, inspections or protocol statement would be provided by Iran.

The spokesman stressed that the agreement with the IAEA is for three months, adding that if other parties to the JCPOA fulfilled their obligations under the deal in the above-mentioned period, the government would inform the parliament through a report so that the legislature could make a decision.

Continuation of sharing information is in the interest of both sides, because the IAEA needs to have the information to be able to make verification and broad evaluation, Kamalvandi added.

He said that the IAEO offered members of parliament to visit nuclear sites to watch the process of enforcing the law in question closely.

On the possibility that three European parties to the JCPOA would cooperate with the US to pass an anti-Iran resolution in the next IAEA Board of Governors session, Kamalvandi underlined that the European Troika has made a non-constructive move that must stop.

Is the Iran nuclear deal (JCPOA) a ‘dead letter’?

First Batch of Iran’s 20% Enriched Uranium Products Ready

First Batch of Iran’s 20% Enriched Uranium Products Ready

By Staff, Agencies

Iran says it has produced its first UF6 [uranium hexafluoride or hex] product a few hours after restarting the enrichment of uranium up to a purity level of 20 percent at Fordow nuclear facility.

Behrouz Kamalvandi, the spokesman for the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran [AEOI], announced late Monday that the first UF6 product was prepared a few hours ago.

The process of injecting gas into the centrifuges and resuming uranium enrichment up to 20% started earlier in the day after informing inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency [IAEA], the spokesman said.

“Considering the previous experience of enrichment in Fordow facility, the new production line for enriching uranium to 20% was prepared very quickly,” Kamalvandi said.

He also noted that the country is prepared to enrich uranium at purity levels beyond 20 percent.

According to the AEOI, the resumption of uranium enrichment at this level of purity came in line with the legislation earlier passed by the Iranian Parliament, which obliges the administration of President Hassan Rouhani to expand the country’s nuclear activities in a bid to have the sanctions lifted.

Earlier in the day, Iran’s government spokesman announced the beginning of the process to enrich uranium to 20 percent purity at Fordow nuclear facility.

“President [Hassan Rouhani] had ordered the beginning of 20-percent enrichment a couple of days ago, and the process of injecting gas [into centrifuges] has started after informing the International Atomic Energy Agency [IAEA] … and the first UF6 product will be out a few hours from now,” Ali Rabiei said.

Following Iranian government spokesman’s announcement, Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif also took to Twitter, saying that resumption of 20% uranium enrichment by Iran is totally legal and based on a recent legislation by the country’s Parliament while keeping the IAEA fully abreast of Tehran’s decision.

“We resumed 20% enrichment, as legislated by our Parliament. IAEA has been duly notified,” Zarif said in his tweet.

He emphasized that the move is in conformity with Paragraph 36 of the JCPOA, once again reiterating that all Iran’s measures are reversible if other signatories to the landmark nuclear deal remain committed to their obligations.

“Our remedial action conforms fully with Para 36 of JCPOA, after years of noncompliance by several other JCPOA participants. Our measures are fully reversible upon FULL compliance by ALL,” the top Iranian diplomat tweeted.

Zarif’s deputy Abbas Araqchi later echoed his remarks in a televised interview, and said the 20-percent uranium enrichment at Fordow is not going to kill the 2015 nuclear deal, and is in conformity with the multilateral accord.

“The 20-percent enriched uranium is what Tehran’s atomic reactor needs, and we restarted the process based on the Parliament’s legislation. If the other parties return to their commitments, we can also get back to our JCPOA commitments. We started enrichment to 20 percent in 12 hours,” Araqchi said.

He said the law recently passed by the Parliament says the country can technically enrich uranium at purity levels beyond 20 percent, but Iran enriches its uranium based on its need, and does not believe in nuclear weapons.

“These weapons have no position in our security and defense doctrine. Our programs are based on on-the-ground needs, and we don’t need enrichment beyond 20 percent,” he clarified.

His comments came after the IAEA confirmed in a statement that Iran had started the process of enriching uranium to 20 percent.

“Iran today began feeding uranium already enriched up to 4.1 percent U-235 into six centrifuge cascades at the Fordow Fuel Enrichment Plant for further enrichment up to 20 percent,” the statement said.

It added, “IAEA inspectors were present at the site to detach the Agency’s seal from a cylinder with the feed material” and that “the cylinder was then connected to the feeding line to start the production of uranium enriched up to 20 percent.”

A total of 1,044 IR-1 centrifuges were being used in the process, the IAEA said.

Biden and the inevitable return to the nuclear understanding بايدن وحتميّة العودة للتفاهم النوويّ

**Please scroll down for the English Machine translation**

بايدن وحتميّة العودة للتفاهم النوويّ

ناصر قنديل

تمتلئ الصحف العربية والأجنبية والقنوات المموّلة من دول الخليج بتحليلات وتقارير ومواقف لخبراء، تركز على تعقيدات تعترض طريق عودة إدارة الرئيس الأميركي المنتخب جو بايدن، تبني عليها الاستنتاج بأن بايدن سيجد طريقاً آخر غير العودة للاتفاق، وجوهر التعقيدات التي يجري استعراضها التي تتوزّع بين مستجدات الملف النووي نفسه، ما يستدعي بعد الخطوات التي اتخذتها إيران منذ الانسحاب الأميركي من التفاهم، ما هو أكثر من مجرد إعلان إيران عن العودة للالتزامات، وهو ما قاله مدير الوكالة الدولية للطاقة الذرية، بالإضافة لاعتبار ملف الصواريخ الإيرانية البالستية والملفات الإقليمية الملتهبة في اليمن وسورية والعراق أسباباً إضافية لتعطيل فرص العودة للتفاهم.

معلوم أن إيران ترفض أي مراحل انتقالية، تتضمن تفاوضاً يسبق العودة للتفاهم، وتصرّ على اعتبار العودة الأميركية المطلوبة بلا شروط لتقابلها عودة للالتزامات من جانب إيران، وعندها ينعقد لقاء الخمسة زائداً واحداً، الذي تشارك فيه الأمم المتحدة والوكالة الدولية للطاقة الذرية، والاتحاد الأوروبي كشركاء مع الدول المعنية، وفي هذا الإطار الراعي للتفاهم يتم التداول بكل القضايا التقنية التي أراد مدير الوكالة مطالبة إيران بها عبر تصريحاته التي رفضتها إيران، أما في شأن الملفات الأخرى التي يتحدّث عنها الأوروبيون والأميركيون سواء ملف الصواريخ الإيرانية أو ملفات النزاع الإقليمية، فهي قضايا سبق وكانت مطروحة قبل التوقيع على الاتفاق النووي، وفي النهاية بقيت قضايا خلافية وتقرّر السير بالاتفاق رغم بقائها.

السؤال الذي يواجه بايدن، هو الذي واجهه مع الرئيس باراك أوباما عام 2015، أنه في ظل وجود قضايا عالقة مع إيران، ما هي الطريقة الفضلى للتعامل مع الملف النووي، مواصلة الرهان على العقوبات أم الذهاب للحرب أو الاحتكام لقواعد التفاهم، وكان قرار ثنائي أوباما بايدن يومها، الاحتكام للتفاهم، وهذا ما شرحه أوباما مراراً بقوله إنه يدرك أن الاتفاق سيئ، لكنه يدرك أن البديل الذي يمثله الرهان غير الموثوق على العقوبات، مخاطرة كبرى بإضاعة الفرصة، وصولاً لاكتشاف لحظة تمتلك فيها إيران قنبلة نووية، شارحاً كيف أن واشنطن كانت تكتشف مع كل توقف للتفاوض وعودة للعقوبات أنها عندما تعود للتفاوض أن الملف النووي زاد تعقيداً وقدرات إيران زادت نمواً، بينما الحرب مغامرة أشد خطورة، ولا تزال ردود أوباما على رئيس حكومة الاحتلال بنيامين نتنياهو يومها، بنظر فريق بايدن صالحة اليوم، وفقاً لنتائج تجربة الرئيس دونالد ترامب.

يقول فريق بايدن إذا كانت الحرب خياراً، فلماذا لم يلجأ إليها ثنائي ترامب ونتنياهو، أما عن العقوبات فيستعرض فريق بايدن، حصيلة السنوات الأربع لمشروع ترامب نتنياهو، بالخروج من الاتفاق النووي والرهان على العقوبات، التي تسببت بالكثير من الخسائر لإيران، لكنها لم تخل بنظام الحكم ولا فرضت على القيادة الإيرانية التنازلات المطلوبة، وبالمقابل خسرت واشنطن وحلفاؤها الكثير في هذه السنوات، سواء في تطور مقدّرات إيران النووية وغير النووية، أو في تراجع وضع حلفائها وتقدم حلفاء إيران، ففي هذه السنوات تحققت الانتصارات الكبرى لسورية، وامتلك حزب الله الصواريخ الدقيقة، وتحوّل أنصار الله إلى قوة عظمى تمسك بأمن الخليج.

فريق بايدن يقول إن التفاهم الذي كان خياراً سيئاً في عام 2015، هو خيار أشد سوءاً في 2020، لكن الرهان على العقوبات كان مخاطرة كبرى عام 2015 وصار حماقة كبرى وانتحاراً في العام 2020، والحرب التي كانت خياراً على الطاولة عام 2015 لم تعد خيار مطروحاً للنقاش في 2020.

Biden and the inevitable return to the nuclear understanding

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Untitled-803.png

Nasser Qandil

Arab and foreign newspapers and gulf-funded channels are full of analysis, reports and positions of experts, focusing on the complexities of the return of President-elect Joe Biden to JCPOA, They concluded that  Biden will find a way other than to returning to the agreement, And the essence of the complications being reviewed that are distributed among the developments of the nuclear file itself, which calls for, after the steps taken by Iran since the US withdrawal from the understanding, more than just Iran’s announcement of a return to commitments, the director of the IAEA said, in addition to considering the file Iranian ballistic missiles and the and the inflamed regional files in Yemen, Syria, and Iraq as additional reasons for disrupting the chances of a return to understanding.

It is known that Iran rejects any transition, including negotiations prior to the return of the understanding, and insists on considering the return of the U.S. unconditionally required to be met by a return to the commitments of Iran, and then the meeting of the P5+1, in which the UN and the IAEA participate, and the European Union as partners with the countries concerned, As for the other issues that the Europeans and the Americans are talking about, whether the Iranian missile file or the regional conflict files, they are issues that were previously discussed before the signing of the nuclear agreement, and in the end they remained contentious issues and it was decided to proceed with the agreement

The question Biden faces, is what he faced with President Barack Obama in 2015, that with the outstanding issues with Iran, what is the best way to deal with the nuclear file, continue to bet on sanctions or go to war or invoke the rules of understanding, and the decision of the Obama-Biden duo on that day, invoking understanding, and this is what Obama has repeatedly explained by saying that he realizes that the deal is bad, but he realizes that the alternative represented by the bet on the sanctions are a great risk of wasting opportunity, explaining how Washington was discovering with every pause for negotiations and a return to sanctions that when it returns to negotiations that the nuclear file has increased complexity and Iran’s capabilities have grown, while the war is a more dangerous adventure, and Obama’s responses to the prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu today, in the eyes of the Biden team, are valid today, according to the results of President Donald Trump’s experience.

Biden’s team says if war is an option, why didn’t the Trump and Netanyahu duo resort to it, but as for the sanctions, Biden’s team,  the outcome of the four-year Trump-Netanyahu project, is reviewing the outcome of the nuclear deal and betting on sanctions, which caused a lot of losses to Iran, but did not disturb the regime or imposed on the Iranian leadership In these years, the major victories of Syria have been achieved, and Hezbollah has possessed precise missiles, and Ansar Allah has turned into a superpower that holds on to Gulf security.

Biden’s team says that understanding, which was a bad choice in 2015, is a worse option in 2020, but betting on sanctions was a major risk in 2015 and became a major folly and suicide in 2020, and the war on the table in 2015 is no longer an option for debate in 2020.

Response to Fakhrizadeh’s assassination in Iran time الردّ على اغتيال فخري زاده بتوقيت إيران

Response to Fakhrizadeh’s assassination in Iran time

Munther Suleiman and Jafar al-Jaafari

Security experts agreed that the operation required high-level intelligence and professionalism capabilities that only professional states possessed for “state terrorism” operations.

Immediately after the assassination of Mohsen Fakhrizadeh (November 27th), Siham accused the Israeli-Mossad intelligence service of u.S. cooperation, not only from the Iranian side concerned, but also from the “semi-official” U.S.side.

The scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh has been at the top of the u.S. most wanted list since the time of former President George W. Bush, Jr., and “Israeli”, evidence that Israeli intelligence officials acknowledged that an earlier attempt on his life had been prepared and delayed at the last minute. Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu reviewed Dr. Mohsen Fakhrizadeh’s name at a media festival in 2018, boasting: “Remember that name:Fakhrizadeh.”

We can say that the United States also acknowledged the “unofficial” words of President Trump himself during the first hours of the assassination, by posting a tweet on his official account conveying the news about “Israeli” sources, and in Hebrew, which he did not master at all.

He soon recalled the man’s history in the media, as “the father of the nuclear bomb, and in recent years he has been working on a project to reduce the size of the nuclear warhead and enable it to maintain its effectiveness in the phase of the entry of the carrier ballistic missile into the atmosphere towards the target”.

The reasons for the assassination and the more likely possibilities for how it occurred remain subject to the availability of accurate operational information, which is unlikely to be completed soon for reasons of confidentiality, and we have a return below to discussit.

Later on the day of the assassination, the New York Times revealed what a “high-ranking U.S. source” told her, saying that “Israel is responsible for carrying out the assassination,” without explaining his identity or why he was sure of the perpetrator.

The assassination coincided with the U.S. mobilisation of additional military resources, with the Navy announcing the movement of the Nimitz nuclear aircraft carrier stationed in the region, as the decision to withdraw a number of U.S. troops from Afghanistan matured, u.S. commanders said.

Moving the nuclear carrier into the region may not be sufficient to conclude that a military attack is about to take off, assuming u.S. operational experience and military doctrine and requiring the movement of a number of other naval pieces, reinforced by missile-carrying submarines, destroyers and cruisers.

The weapon of assassination of scientists entered active service with political decision makers since the beginning of the era of nuclear technology in the early 1940s, with an American plan to “kidnap or assassinate” German physicist Werner Heisenberg in 1942, given the scientific gap at the time between the progress of German technology and the inevitability of its success in the manufacture of a nuclear bomb, and parallel U.S. efforts in the “ManhattanNuclear Program”.

William Toby, an American nuclear energy expert at harvard University, said that “the most important thing to achieve is to postpone, not stop, the nuclear program of the. adversary, and perhaps form a deterrent to the accession of other minds and competencies to the program” (November 27, 2020).

Toby stressed the “denial of responsibility” space provided by the weapon of assassination of scientists to the aggressor, given the complexities of any state’s nuclear programme, as well as the nature of direct military action and its crucial identity. He also warned of the short- and medium-term adverse consequences of the effectiveness of the assassination, as the attacking party would lead to a reduction in the ceiling of cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and “possibly an end to cooperation with it altogether”.

After the assassination, there was unprecedented confusion in the narrative of the Iranian authorities, and the multiplicity of officials who gave their opinions, but the most prominent common factor is the detection of a security gap in The Iranian agencies, not the first in the targeting of their scientists, which led to what led to it.

It is certain that since 2007 we have witnessed a series of bombings that killed four Iranian scientists and failed another operation. Their activities were said to have been in the process of developing Iran’s nuclear program, ranging from “toxic gas possibly the real source of an accident at the facility, to remote-controlled explosion, and direct shooting at a car carrying the person concerned.” Now, a new narrative is echoed by the use of a marching aircraft and infrared surveillance devices also controlled by remotes.

The successive Iranian statements were not based on a specific narrative, except that the assassination is considered a war decision, but we witnessed 3 interpretations or jurisprudence that simulate the mechanisms of carrying out the operation: the car Of Fakhrizadeh was subjected to a barrage of bullets, in conjunction with the explosion of a locomotive before his arrival, which slowed down his movement, a human ambush reinforced by about 12 elements, including snipers, and the firing of a “remote-controlled machine gun” prayers of bullets.

The latest theory – remote-based machine gun – is not entirely excluded as electronic technologies advance, especially “sophisticated weapons. through the use of robots,” according to The Forbes Weekly (November 30, 2020).

The magazine, quoting its military sources, confirmed that an innovative weapon for remote shooting and firing was used in Syria “through the Free Syrian Army in the vicinity of Idlib city in 2013”, and the prototypes of it moved to the control and use of Kurdish forces and elements of “ISIS”, according to a 2016 U.S. army report, entitled “Remote control of sniper weapons and machine guns by terrorists and insurgents.”

With an intense targeting of the U.S. tank tower in Afghanistan and Iraq, u.S. military command replaced the human element in the tower through the CROWSsystem, which allows remote control ofa weapons center, and provided the Norwegian company Kongsberg with some 200,000 such systems for the U.S. Army, a system reinforced with thermal camera technologies, introduced to service on U.S. combat vehicles..

Infrared landscape technology is available in the U.S. commercial market, albeit with relatively low specifications for military models, manufactured by the American Network of Technology(ATN),supplied by U.S. Special Forces. One of its features is remote control of night binoculars, which is reinforced by a ballistic computer to ensure accuracy..

One of the most prominent conclusions of the report of the magazine mentioned what it described as the “positive advantages” of that weapon, namely, reducing the element of adventure by killing or arresting the control of the weapon to zero, and the impossibility of monitoring and tracking the coordinates of the source of the attack.

The magazine suggested that the use of remote weapons left no trace of Iranian investigators, despite one of the official narratives that indicated that there was evidence at the site linking the attack to Israeli agencies, and that the “concealment of the identity” of the executor was the main motive behind the use of this technology by a number of countries using drones, for example.

Security and military experts agree that this operation “constitutes a major security breach that necessitated high-level intelligence and professionalism capabilities that are possessed only by professional states for “state terrorism” operations, and that the perpetrator discovered a loophole in the internal security system in Iran, and exploited it and was able to carry it out, enabling it to succeed,” which refutes one of the Iranian narratives that its intelligence services were “aware of an imminent attack.”

In a purely political dimension, since wars are the application of politics with other tools, according to Carl von Klaus Fitz, the centre of gravity for the objectives of the process is shifting to the conflict between American politicians, given president-elect Joe Biden’s conciliatory statements that he will resume U.S. membership in the international nuclear agreement, “with some conditions tightened and others added.”

From this perspective, U.S. observers specifically emphasise the “postponement” of iran’s promised response, leaving time for the next administration to deal positively with the international agreement, and possibly a return to the elimination of some U.S. sanctions imposed by the outgoing Trump administration.

In this regard, the fact of the official U.S. hostility to the Iranian regime and its roots should not be. overlooked, and from time to time the incident of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran and the detention of its employees for several years with the victory of the Iranian revolution in 1979.

At the same level, one recognizes the consensus of U.S. decision makers not to allow Iran to possess nuclear knowledge and weapons, based on the commitment of the ruling institution in its entirety and currents “to maintain Israel’s superiority over all countries in the region” with qualitative weapons that are forbidden to other parties, individually or collectively, to acquire, Indeed, some senior U.S. strategists argue: “Regardless of the identity of the U.S. president, hostility will continue in relations with Iran as we have seen and seen over the past four decades, and Iran will continue to blame the United States and Israel for any incidents they face in the foreseeable future, whether or not they are found to be involved.”

With these lines written, the possibility of postponing the Iranian retaliatory strike, not the possibility of its cancellation, is reinforced by the view of the internal interactions in the israeli crisis entity, and the flexible statements of President-elect Biden on the Iranian nuclear file, accompanied by an argument at home iran about the tactic and the short-term strategy for the best response to the assassination, as factors that will not make Tehran rush a military/security response, to keep it a margin of movement and appropriate options, depending on the schedule, not the schedule ofothers.

الردّ على اغتيال فخري زاده بتوقيت إيران

منذر سليمان   جعفر الجعفري

خبراء أمنيون أجمعوا على أنّ العملية استلزمت قدرات استخباريّة واحترافاً عالي المستوى لا تملكه إلا الدول المحترفة لعمليات “إرهاب الدولة”.

فور تنفيذ عمليّة اغتيال محسن فخري زاده (27 تشرين الثاني/نوفمبر)، توجّهت سهام الاتهام إلى جهاز الاستخبارات “الإسرائيلي – الموساد”، بتعاون أميركيّ، ليس من الجانب الإيرانيّ المعنيّ الأوّل بذلك فقط، بل من الجانب الأميركي “شبه الرسمي” أيضاً.

العالم محسن فخري زاده كان على رأس قائمات المطلوبين أميركياً منذ عهد الرئيس الأسبق جورج بوش الابن، و”إسرائيلياً”، بدليل اعتراف مسؤولي استخبارات “إسرائيل” بأنّ محاولة سابقة لاغتياله تم إعدادها وتأجَّل تنفيذها في اللحظات الأخيرة. أما رئيس الوزراء بنيامين نتنياهو، فقد استعرض اسم الدكتور محسن فخري زاده في مهرجان إعلامي عقده في العام 2018، متبجّحاً: “تذكّروا هذا الاسم: فخري زاده”.

 بوسعنا القول إنَّ الولايات المتّحدة اعترفت أيضاً بكلام “غير رسمي” على لسان الرئيس ترامب نفسه خلال الساعات الأولى للاغتيال، بنشره تغريدة في حسابه الرسمي ينقل فيها الخبر عن المصادر “الإسرائيلية”، وباللغة العبريّة التي لا يتقنها مطلقاً.

وسرعان ما استُحضر تاريخ الرجل في الإعلام، بوصفه “أب القنبلة النووية، وأنه انكبّ يعمل في السنوات الأخيرة على مشروع تصغير حجم الرأس الحربي النووي وتمكينه من الاحتفاظ بفاعليته في مرحلة دخول الصاروخ الباليستي الحامل إلى الغلاف الجوي نحو الهدف”.

 حيثيات الاغتيال والاحتمالات الأكثر ترجيحاً لكيفية وقوعه، تبقى مرهونة بتوفر معلومات عملياتية دقيقة، وهو أمر يستبعد إنجازه قريباً لدواعي السرّية، ولنا عودة أدناه لمناقشة الأمر.

في وقت لاحق من يوم الاغتيال، كشفت صحيفة “نيويورك تايمز” عما أخبرها به “مصدر أميركي رفيع المستوى”، قائلاً “إن إسرائيل هي المسؤولة عن تنفيذ الاغتيال”، من دون أن توضح هُويته أو سبب يقينه من الفاعل.

 تزامن الاغتيال مع حشد الولايات المتحدة موارد عسكرية إضافية، بإعلان سلاح البحرية عن تحرك حاملة الطائرات النووية “نيميتز” للمرابطة في المنطقة، مع نضوج قرار سحب عدد من القوات الأميركية من أفغانستان، بموجب تصريحات القادة الأميركيين.

 ربما لا يشكّل تحريك الحاملة النووية إلى المنطقة عاملاً كافياً للاستنتاج بأنَّ هجوماً عسكرياً على وشك الانطلاق، إذ تفترض الخبرة العملياتية والعقيدة العسكرية الأميركية وتتطلَّب تحريك عدد من القطع البحرية الأخرى، تعززها غواصات حاملة للصواريخ ومدمّرات وطرادات.

 سلاح اغتيال العلماء دخل الخدمة الفعلية عند صناع القرار السياسي منذ بدء عصر التقنية النووية مطلع عقد الأربعينيات من القرن الماضي، بمخطط أميركي “لخطف أو اغتيال” عالم الفيزياء الألماني فيرنر هايزنبيرغ في العام 1942، نظراً إلى الفجوة العلمية آنذاك بين تقدم التقنية الألمانية وحتمية نجاحها في صنع قنبلة نووية، والجهود الأميركية الموازية في “برنامج مانهاتن” النووي.

 الخبير الأميركي في الطّاقة النووية لدى جامعة “هارفرد” العريقة، ويليام توبي، اعتبر أنَّ “أقصى ما تطمح إلى تحقيقه الجهة المنفّذة لاغتيال علماء الطاقة النووية هو تأجيل وليس إيقاف سير البرنامج النووي للخصم، وربما تشكيل عامل ردع لانضمام عقول وكفاءات أخرى إلى البرنامج” (27 تشرين الثاني/نوفمبر 2020).

وشدّد توبي على ما يوفّره سلاح اغتيال العلماء من مساحة “إنكار المسؤولية” للطرف المعتدي، نظراً إلى تعقيدات البرنامج النووي لأيّ دولة، وإلى طبيعة العمل العسكري المباشر وهويته الحاسمة أيضاً. وحذّر أيضاً من النتائج العكسية على المديين القصير والمتوسط من فعالية الاغتيال، إذ سيقود الطرف المعتدى عليه إلى خفض سقف التعاون مع الهيئة الدولية للطاقة النووية، “وربما إنهاء التعاون معها بالكامل”.

في بُعد ساحة الاغتيال، لوحظ ارتباك غير مسبوق في سردية السلطات الإيرانية، وتعدّد المسؤولين الذين أدلوا بدلوهم، لكنَّ العامل المشترك الأبرز هو الكشف عن ثغرة أمنيّة في الأجهزة الإيرانيّة، ليست الأولى في استهداف علمائها، أدّت إلى ما أدت إليه.

 الثّابت أمامنا أننا شهدنا منذ العام 2007 سلسلة عمليات تفجير أدت إلى مقتل 4 علماء إيرانيين وفشل عملية أخرى. وقد قيل إن نشاطاتهم كانت في سبيل تطوير البرنامج النووي الإيراني، وتراوحت الآليات بين “غاز سام ربما مصدره الحقيقي حادث عرضي في المنشأة، إلى التفجير بالتحكم عن بُعد، وإطلاق النار مباشرة على سيارة تُقلّ الشخصية المعنية”. والآن، تتردّد سردية جديدة عبر استخدام طائرة مسيّرة وأجهزة مراقبة تعمل بالأشعة تحت الحمراء أيضاً يتم التحكم بها عن بعد.

التصريحات الإيرانية المتتالية لم تستند إلى سردية معينة، سوى أن الاغتيال يعتبر قرار حرب، بل شهدنا 3 تفسيرات أو اجتهادات تحاكي آليات تنفيذ العملية: تعرض سيارة فخري زاده لوابل من الرصاص، بالتزامن مع انفجار قاطرة قبل وصوله، ما أدى إلى إبطاء حركته، وكمين بشري معزز بنحو 12 عنصراً، من ضمنهم قناصة، وإطلاق “رشاش بتحكّم عن بعد” صليات من الرصاص.

النظرية الأخيرة – رشاش عن بعد – ليست مستبعدة تماماً في ظل تقدم التقنيات الإلكترونية، وخصوصاً “أسلحة متطورة عبر استخدام الإنسان الآلي”، بحسب أسبوعية “فوربز” الأميركية (30 تشرين الثاني/نوفمبر 2020).

أكّدت المجلة، نقلاً عن مصادرها العسكرية، أن سلاحاً مبتكراً للتصويب والإطلاق عن بُعد استخدم في سوريا “عبر جيش سوريا الحر في محيط مدينة إدلب في العام 2013″، وانتقلت النماذج الأولية منه إلى سيطرة واستخدام القوات الكردية وعناصر “داعش”، بحسب تقرير للجيش الأميركي في العام 2016، بعنوان “التحكّم عن بعد لأسلحة قناصة ورشاشات من قبل الإرهابيين والمتمردين”.

ومع استهداف مكثّف لاصطياد برج الدبابة الأميركية في أفغانستان والعراق، استبدلت القيادة العسكرية الأميركية العنصر البشري في البرج عبر نظام “CROWS”، الذي يسمح بالتحكّم عن بعد بمركز أسلحة، زوّدت الشركة النرويجية “كونغزبيرغ” بنحو 200،000 نظام من هذا النوع للجيش الأميركي وهو نظام معزّز بتقنيات الكاميرا الحرارية، تم إدخالها الخدمة على العربات القتالية الأميركية.

تقنية المناظر الليلة العاملة بالأشعة تحت الحمراء متوفرة في السوق التجاري الأميركي، وإن بمواصفات متدنية نسبياً عن النماذج الحربية، وهي من صناعة شركة “الشبكة الأميركية للتقنية” (ATN)، زوّدت بها القوات الخاصة الأميركية. ومن ميزاتها التحكّم عن بعد بالمناظير الليلية، وهي معزّزة بحاسوب “باليستي” لضمان الدقّة.

من أبرز استنتاجات تقرير المجلّة المذكورة ما وصفته من “ميزات إيجابية” لذاك السلاح، وهي تقليص عنصر المغامرة بمقتل أو اعتقال المتحكّم بالسلاح إلى الصفر، واستحالة رصد وتعقّب إحداثيات مصدر الهجوم.

ورجَّحت المجلّة أنَّ استخدام السلاح عن بُعد لم يترك أي أثر يستفيد منه المحقّقون الإيرانيون، على الرغم من إحدى السرديات الرسمية التي أشارت إلى توفّر أدلة في الموقع تربط الهجوم بالأجهزة الإسرائيلية، بل إن “اخفاء هوية” المنفّذ هو الدافع الرئيسي وراء تسخير عدد من الدول لتلك التقنية باستخدام الطائرات المسيّرة، على سبيل المثال.

الخبراء الأمنيون والعسكريون يجمعون على أنّ هذه العملية “تشكل خرقاً أمنياً كبيراً استلزم قدرات استخباريّة واحترافاً عالي المستوى لا تملكه إلا الدول المحترفة لعمليات “إرهاب الدولة”، وأن الفاعل اكتشف ثغرة ما في المنظومة الأمنيّة الداخليّة في إيران، فاستغلَّها واستطاع أن ينفذ منها، ما مكّنه من النجاح”، وهو ما يفنّد إحدى السرديات الإيرانية بأن أجهزة استخباراتها كانت “على علم بهجوم وشيك”.

في البعد السياسيّ الصرف، بما أنَّ الحروب هي تطبيق للسياسة بأدوات أخرى، وفق كارل فون كلاوس فيتز، ينتقل مركز الثقل لأهداف العملية إلى الصراع الدائر بين الساسة الأميركيين، في ظلّ تصريحات مواربة للرئيس المنتخب جو بايدن، بأنه سيستأنف عضوية الولايات المتحدة في الاتفاق النووي الدولي، “مع تشديد بعض الشروط وإضافة أخرى”.

ومن هذا المنظار، يؤكّد المراقبون الأميركيون تحديداً “تأجيل” الرد الإيراني الموعود، كي يترك فسحة زمنية للإدارة المقبلة للتعامل إيجابياً مع الاتفاق الدولي، وربما العودة إلى إلغاء بعض العقوبات الأميركية التي فرضتها إدارة الرئيس ترامب المنتهية ولايته.

في هذا الصدد، لا يجوز إغفال حقيقة العداء الأميركي الرسمي للنظام الإيراني وتجذّره، والتذكير بين فترة وأخرى بحادثة السفارة الأميركية في طهران واحتجاز موظفيها لعدة سنوات مع انتصار الثورة الإيرانية في العام 1979.

وفي المستوى عينه، يدرك المرء إجماع صنّاع القرار الأميركي على عدم السماح لإيران بامتلاك المعرفة النووية وصنع الأسلحة، استناداً إلى التزام المؤسّسة الحاكمة بكامل أجنحتها وتياراتها “بضرورة الحفاظ على تفوّق إسرائيل على جميع الدول في المنطقة” بأسلحة نوعية ممنوع على الأطراف الأخرى، منفردة أو مجتمعة، اقتناؤها، بل يذهب بعض كبار الاستراتيجيين الأميركيين إلى القول: “بصرف النظر عن هوية الرئيس الأميركي، فسيستمرّ العداء في العلاقات مع إيران كما رأينا وشهدنا خلال العقود الأربعة الماضية، وستستمرّ إيران في لوم الولايات المتحدة وإسرائيل على أيّ حوادث تتعرض لها في المستقبل المنظور، سواء ثبت تورطهما فيها أم لا”.

مع كتابة هذه السّطور، تتعزّز إمكانيّة تأجيل الضّربة الانتقامية الإيرانيّة، وليس إمكانية إلغائها، إذ ينظر إلى التفاعلات الداخلية في الكيان الإسرائيلي المتأزّم، والتصريحات المرنة للرئيس المنتخب بايدن حول الملفّ النووي الإيراني، مصحوبة بجدال في الداخل الإيراني حول التكتيك والاستراتيجية القصيرة المدى للرد الأفضل على جريمة الاغتيال، باعتبارها عوامل لن تجعل طهران تتسرع برد عسكري/أمني، لتبقي لديها هامشاً من الحركة والخيارات المناسبة، بحسب جدولها، وليس جدول الآخرين.

محسن فخري زادة

فيديوات متعلقة

مقالات متعلقة

Assassination of top Iranian nuclear scientist sparks a blame game in Tehran

Killing of Mohsen Fakhrizadeh prompts accusations of lax security and incompetence

Iranian scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh (right) during a meeting with the Iranian supreme leader in Tehran (AFP)

By Rohollah Faghihi in Tehran

Published date: 28 November 2020 15:54 UTC

It was around 4:30pm in Tehran that reports emerged about the assassination of Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, a top nuclear scientist, by an armed group suspected of links to Israel.

Fakhrizadeh, who wasn’t a publicly well-known figure, was a physics professor at University of Imam Hussein, the defence minister’s deputy and the head of the Research and Innovation Organisation for the ministry.

His death has been seen in some quarters as linked to the victory of Joe Biden in the US presidential elections. Biden has promised to return America to the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran, which has alarmed Israel and pro-Israel politicians in the US.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, a former Iranian official told MEE: “It is obvious that [Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu is striving to kill two birds with one stone. On one hand, he wants to create an excuse for a US-led attack on Iran’s nuclear sites, and on the other hand he wants to put an unremovable obstacle in the way of Iran-US de-escalation and Biden’s rejoining the [nuclear deal].

“The obstacle will be at least raising pressures on [Iranian President Hassan] Rouhani’s administration by the emboldened hardliners and the establishment to decrease the level of cooperation with the IAEA [International Atomic Energy Agency] and not to adopt a new posture towards the future administration of the US for detente.”

How was he assassinated?

According to the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps-affiliated Tasnim news agency, the attack occurred at 2:30pm, while Fakhrizadeh was in Aabsard county, close to Tehran. As his car was passing a pick-up truck, the truck exploded and a group of armed men opened fire on him, leading to his bodyguard being shot four times.

However, Fars, another IRGC-affiliated news agency, published a slightly different and likely more accurate account of the incident. At first, Fakhrizadeh’s car and two cars of his bodyguards were stopped as a group of men started constant shooting, and then a pick-up truck full of timber exploded in front of the car.

“After the explosion, the terrorists who had ambushed [them] began shooting at the car of the nuclear scientist from an unclear point,” reported Fars, adding that one of the bodyguards put his car in front of the gunmen to protect Fakhrizadeh, leading to his “martyrdom”.

Fakhrizadeh was soon taken to hospital, but his wounds proved fatal.

Iran’s state TV said that “based on unconfirmed reports,” one of the gunmen had been captured.

‘Remember that name’

According to General Amir Hatami, Iran’s defence minister, Fakhrizadeh was “in charge in the field of nuclear defence in the Ministry of Defence, and the issue of nuclear defence and his [ties] with nuclear scientists had made him famous as a [nuclear scientist]”.

He added that the use of “lasers in air defence or the detection of intruding aircraft by means other than radar” was also among his work. Fakhrizadeh, who was called “Mr Mohseni,” was also active in missile programmes too.

Hatami said a rapid Covid-19 test kit was produced under the supervision of Fakhrizadeh and claimed he was also successful in developing a coronavirus vaccine, which is in the first phase of human trials.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu delivers a presentation about Mohsen Fakhrizadeh
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu delivers a presentation about Mohsen Fakhrizadeh (AFP)

While relatively little known within Iran, Fakhrizadeh had gained a reputation in foreign intelligence circles.

In 2018, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu claimed that Iran has designed a nuclear payload on Shahab 3 missiles and was expanding its range for nuclear-capable missiles that could reach Riyadh, Tel Aviv and Moscow but were planning for a much further reach. He identified Fakhrizadeh as the head of the project and told his audience to “remember that name”.

In an interview with Kan TV in 2018, former Israeli prime minister Ehud Olmert also warned that Fakhrizadeh would “have no immunity”.

Prior to this, in 2017, Saudi Arabia’s Al-Arabiya covered a summit of the exiled Mojehedin e-Khalq (MEK), a controversial opposition group once on the US terrorism list, at which the organisation claimed Fakhrizadeh was behind Iran’s project for producing a nuclear weapon.

Fereidoun Abbasi, an Iranian MP, said that Fakhrizadeh had survived a similar attack 12 years ago.

In recent years, five other top nuclear scientists have been assassinated in Iran. The latest assassination happened only a few days ahead of the anniversary of the killing of nuclear scientist Majid Shahriari in 2010.

Criticisms of Iran’s security apparatus reaches its peak

While many in Iran believe that Israel was behind the assassination of Fakhrizadeh, on social media many Iranians slammed the security apparatus for its failure to protect their country’s nuclear scientists.

Some complained that the intelligence forces were wasting their time arresting innocent journalists and researchers while the real spies are wandering freely in Tehran.

“I’m more angry with the security apparatus, which is arresting university professors, lawyers and journalists while the wolves are committing assassination in broad daylight,” wrote Sharare Dehshiri, an Iranian user, on Twitter.

Another user under the name of “elsolito” tweeted: “The intelligence organisations must answer to the public about what are they doing exactly? What happened to all your claims of having intelligence monitoring?

“When you are searching for spies among environment activists, journalists and protesters, the result is today’s catastrophe, when the country’s [top people] get assassinated in the heart of the country in the broad daylight.”

Meanwhile, retired General Hossein Alai, a reform-minded figure and former commander of  the IRGC Naval force, called for a reassessment of the performance of the security apparatus.

“We should [study] what weakness there is in the structure of Iran’s security apparatus, which despite the possibility of assassinating people like Fakhrizadeh and providing bodyguards for them, the Israeli operation still succeeds,” argued Alai.

He emphasised that “the assassination of Dr Mohsen Fakhrizadeh by Israel indicates that the Israeli spy and operational circle is still active in Iran”.

Simultaneously, Hesam Ashena, a senior adviser to Iran’s president and a former top intelligence official, called for an “Integrated Intelligence and Security Command” and “synergy of abilities instead of low-yield competitions [between intelligence agencies of Iran]”.

Hardliners point at President Rouhani

Iran’s hardliners have accused President Hassan Rouhani of complicity in Fakhrizadeh’s death after his administration allowed Yukiya Amano, a former head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, to meet the slain scientist.

Javad Karimi Ghoddousi, an Iranian MP, tweeted: “Mr Rouhani, during your presidency over the executive branch, and with the insistence of the enemy and the emphasis of you, Dr Mohsen Fakhrizadeh met with Amano.”

However, Raja News, close to hardliners, denied the allegation brought up by Karimi Ghoddousi. Hassan Shojaie, another MP, claimed that Fakhrizadeh was asked by “pro-western” officials in Iran to meet Amano but the supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, did not allow it.

In a report published on the hardline Mashregh News site in 2014, the IAEA had urged Iran to provide them a meeting with Fakhrizadeh.

Impeding diplomacy

“The reason for assassinating Fakhrizadeh wasn’t to impede Iran’s war potential, it was to impede diplomacy,” tweeted Mark Fitzpatrick, a former senior US diplomat.

That seems to be working to some extent, as the hardliners have already raised pressure on the Iranian government. Hamid Rasai, a hardline activist and former MP, wrote that Rouhani’s administration was putting pressure on Iran’s state TV not to call Fakhrizadeh a nuclear scientist, as they see this assassination a “blow” to their “negotiation project” with US President-elect Joe Biden.

Moreover, Raja News argued that “it is not clear why the pro-West [administration of Rouhani] which is serving their last months, is still emphasising … the failed strategy of compromise”.

“What is clear is that the current strategy of the government has portrayed Iran as weak [in front of] enemies and have persuaded them to commit crimes against people of Iran.”

Iran is due to hold a presidential election next June. 

In the meantime, reformists and conservative newspapers have both called for retaliation.

Headlines used by Iran’s newspapers include: “Eye for an eye,” “If don’t hit them, we will get hit,” “Trap of tension,” and “The cowardly assassination of Fakhrizadeh”.

Prominent reformist and former political prisoner Mostafa Tajzade tweeted: “I unconditionally condemn the assassination of Dr Mohsen Fakhrizadeh. Netanyahu is the first person accused in this crime and seemingly he has no goal other than lighting the fire of war and conflict and preserving the sanctions. Iran can and must expose and isolate the Israeli regime by mobilising global public opinion against state terrorism.”

What will Iran do?

In reaction to Fakhrizadeh’s assassination, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei issued a statement calling for investigation of “this crime” and firm prosecution of “its perpetrators and its commanders”.

The statement contained no vow of revenge, however, suggesting “strategic patience” was still the plan.

Hossein Kanaani-Moghaddam, a former IRGC commander who headed Iran’s forces in Lebanon for period in the 1980s, told MEE: “Iran’s reaction to this act of terrorism will be shown based on prudence and in the right time and place.”

He added: “Iran will not be influenced and affected by Zionists and will not fall in the trap of Zionists who want Iran to do something that would create a war.

Kanaani-Moghaddam emphasised: “Iran will take revenge from those who ordered this assassination in intelligence organizations of Israel and US.”

Meanwhile, Fereidoun Majlesi, a former Iranian diplomat in the US before the 1979 Islamic Revolution, believes that Netanyahu and US President Donald Trump’s joint efforts to prevent a de-escalation between Tehran and the incoming Biden administration will continue.

“It is crystal clear that Israel was behind this assassination as they seek to provoke Iran to give them an excuse for military attack or a full-scale war before the end of Trump’s presidency,” added Majlesi.

However, it seems Iran will continue its “restraint” policy, as Ali Rabie, the spokesperson for Iranian government, has stated that Iran will avenge the assassination, but “not in the game field the [enemy] has designated”.

Read more

JCPOA-phobia! ‘Israelis’, Saudis ‘Express Views’ on US Return to Iran Nuclear Deal

JCPOA-phobia! ‘Israelis’, Saudis ‘Express Views’ on US Return to Iran Nuclear Deal

By Staff

In yet another futile joint attempt to hurdle the growing Iranian might in defense and science, ‘Israeli’ and Saudi efforts met once again, this time to fight the Iran nuclear deal, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action [JCPOA].

With rumors that the upcoming US administration of President-elect Joe Biden will rejoin the Iran nuclear deal that was signed in 2015 with the P5+1 world powers, Zionist Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned that “There must be no return to the previous nuclear agreement.”

Claiming that there is a “military” aspect to Tehran’s nuclear energy program, Netanyahu added: “We must stick to an uncompromising policy to ensure that Iran does not develop nuclear weapons.”

Hebrew media outlets, meanwhile, said Netanyahu’s remarks were clearly addressed at Biden, who has signaled to return to the nuclear accord.

Many inside the Zionist occupation entity believe Netanyahu’s policy of playing hardball against Iran is a tactic to deflect attention from his current political problems as he is facing probe over several corruption cases and frequent protests which have drawn people in tens of thousands taking to the streets to also denounce his mishandling of the coronavirus pandemic.

Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to the United Nations Abdallah Al-Mouallimi said on Sunday that the incoming US administration is not “unexperienced enough” to return to the JCPOA

He then called for negotiations for a new deal with the Islamic Republic involving his country.

Al-Mouallimi dismissed the idea that the United States would re-enter the nuclear deal with Iran under Biden’s administration.

He said nobody would be “naive enough” to go back to a deal that has “proven its failure to the entire world.”

Speaking during an appearance on Fox News’ ‘America’s News HQ’, al-Mouallimi said he did not believe Biden’s administration would pivot from the Gulf states back to Iran and the nuclear deal.

“No, I think that the Iran nuclear deal has proven its failure to the entire world. And I don’t think that anybody is going to be naive enough to go back to the same deal,” he claimed.

“If there is a new deal in which Saudi Arabia is involved in the discussion and which covers the shortcomings of the previous deal … then we will be all for it.”

Relatively, Iran’s nuclear program has been subject to the most intensive inspections ever in the world, and the International Atomic Energy Agency [IAEA] has repeatedly verified the peaceful nature of the activities.

Meanwhile, the Islamic Republic has clearly distanced itself from pursuing non-conventional weapons, citing religious and humanitarian beliefs. According to a fatwa issued by Leader of the Islamic Revolution His Eminence Imam Sayyed Ali Khamenei, acquisition of nuclear weapons is haram or forbidden in Islam.

Iran’s Future Will Be Prosperous: A 150-Year Fight for Sovereignty From Oil to Nuclear Energy

Iran's Future Will Be Prosperous: A 150-Year Fight for Sovereignty ...

Cynthia Chung July 28, 2020

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is chung_1-175x230.jpg

This is Part 3 of the series “Follow the Trail of Blood and Oil”.

 Part 1 is a historical overview of Iran’s long struggle with Britain’s control over Iranian oil and the SIS-CIA overthrow of Iran’s Nationalist leader Mosaddegh in 1953. 

Part 2 covers the period of the Shah’s battle with the Seven Sisters, the 1979 Revolution and the Carter Administration’s reaction, which was to have immense economic consequences internationally, as a response to the hostage crisis.

In this article it will be discussed why, contrary to what we are being told, Iran’s fight for the right to develop nuclear energy will create stability and prosperity in the Middle East rather than an “arc of crisis” scenario.

From Arc of Crisis to Corridors of Development

Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani became President of Iran on August 16th 1989 and served two terms (1989-1997). Rafsanjani, who is considered one of the Founding Fathers of the Islamic Republic, began the effort to rebuild the country’s basic infrastructure, after the ravages of the Iran-Iraq War and launched a series of infrastructure projects not only domestically but in cooperation with neighbouring countries. Following the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991, Rafsanjani moved to establish diplomatic relations with the newly independent Central Asian Republics, forging economic cooperation agreements based on building transportation infrastructure.

The major breakthrough in establishing this network came in May 1996 (after a 4 year construction) with the opening of the Mashhad-Sarakhs-Tajan railway, which provided the missing link in a network connecting landlocked Central Asian Republics to world markets, through Iran’s Persian Gulf ports.

At the historical launching of the railway, Rafsanjani was quoted as saying the expansion of communications, roads and railway networks, and hence access to world markets can “enhance amity, confidence and trust among governments and lead to mutual understanding and greater solidarity…The recent global developments demonstrate the world is moving toward greater regional cooperation, and regionally coordinated economic growth and development will consolidate peace and stability and pave the way for enhancement of international relations.

In addition, at the end of Dec 1997, a 125 mile pipeline between Turkmenistan and northeast Iran was opened, gaining access to one of the largest untapped energy reserves in the world, the Caspian Sea Basin, designed to carry 12 billion cubic feet of natural gas a year.

Rafsanjani was fully aware of the Arc of Crisis prophecy that the U.S. was trying to convince the international community of, that basically, the Middle East was full of savages and would become a hot-bed for Soviet terrorism if left alone. It was also understood that Iran’s geographic location was the linchpin in determining not only Middle East geopolitics, but Eurasian relations.

To counteract this “prophecy”, which was in fact a “vision” for the Middle East, Rafsanjani understood that economic development and cooperation with Iran’s neighbours was key to avoiding such chaos.

In 1996, Rafsanjani founded the Executives of Construction of Iran Party, along with 16 members of cabinet, dedicated to Iran’s increasing participation in world markets and industrialization with emphasis on progress and development. The party’s view is that economic freedom is linked to cultural and political freedom.

Rafsanjani publicly supported Khatami as the next president- a highly influential and significant move.

Khatami’s Call for a “Dialogue Amongst Civilizations”

Mohammad Khatami became President of Iran on the 3rd August 1997 and served two terms (1997-2005). He was elected by an overwhelming majority (69% in 1997 and 77.9% in 2001) with a record voter turnout and was extremely popular amongst women and young voters. There was much optimism that Khatami’s presidency would not only bring further economic advances for Iran, but also that Iran’s international relations could begin to mend with the West and end Iran’s economic isolation.

It was Khatami who would first propose the beautiful concept “Dialogue Amongst Civilizations” and delivered this proposal at the UN General Assembly in September 1998 with the challenge that the first year of the millennium be dedicated to this great theme. It was endorsed by the UN.

You may be inclined to think such a concept fanciful, but Khatami was actually proposing a policy that was in direct opposition to the “crisis of Islam” and “clash of civilizations” geopolitical theories of Bernard Lewis and Samuel P. Huntington. Khatemi understood that to counteract the attempt to destabilise relations between nations, one would have to focus on the common principles among different civilizations, i.e. to identify a nation’s greatest historical and cultural achievements and build upon these shared heritages.

This is the backbone to what China has adopted as their diplomatic philosophy, which they call win-win cooperation and which has led to the creation of the BRI infrastructure projects, which are based on the recognition that only through economic development can nations attain sustainable peace. Italy would be the first in Europe to sign onto the BRI.

In 1999 Khatami would be the first Iranian president, since the 1979 Revolution, to make an official visit to Europe. Italy was the first stop, where Khatami had a long meeting with Pope John Paul II and gave an inspiringly optimistic address to students at the University of Florence.

Khatami stated his reason for choosing to visit Italy first was that they shared in common renaissance heritages (the Italian and Islamic Renaissances). Since the two nations had made significant contributions to contemporary civilization, an immense potential existed for a strategic relationship. It was also significant that Italy had never had a colonial presence in the Middle East. During his visit, Khatami had suggested that Italy could function as the “bridge between Islam and Christianity”.

Khatami further elaborated on the concept of a “bridge between Islam and Christianity” in an interview published by La Republica:

To delve into past history without looking at the future can only be an academic diversion. To help human societies and improve the condition of the world, it is necessary to consider the present state of relations between Asian, in particular Muslim, countries, and Europe…Why do we say, in particular, Muslim? Because Islam is Europe’s next door neighbor; unlike individuals, nations are not free to choose or change neighbors. Therefore, apart from moral, cultural, and human reasons, out of historical and geographical necessity, Islam and Europe have no choice but to gain a better and more accurate understanding of each other, and thus proceed to improve their political, economic, and cultural relations. Our future cannot be separated from each other, because it is impossible to separate our past.

In June 2000, Khatami made a state visit to China with a 170 member delegation. In a lecture delivered at Beijing University Khatami stated:

Even if one were to rely solely on historical documents we can still demonstrate the existence of uninterrupted historical links between China and Iran as early as the third century BC. [The historic Silk Road was the vehicle of cultural exchange where] we can observe a striking spectrum of cultural and spiritual interchanges involving religions, customs, thoughts, literature and ethics, which on the whole, added to the vitality and vivacity of eastern culture and thought…[and that] the Chinese outlook has been instrumental in opening up the way to the fruitful and constructive historical discourses throughout the ages, due to its emphasis on the intellectual over the political, in an attempt to epitomize wisdom, temperance and parsimony…Emphasis on our long standing close historical ties and dialogue among the great Asian civilizations, is a valuable instrument for the regenerating of thought, culture, language, and learning…in Asian civilizations, culture has always been the core of the economic and political process…[and] therefore, we are compelled to give a more serious thought to the revival of our cultures…

Khatami concluded with “The future belongs to the cultured, wise, courageous and industrious nations.

Dr. Strangelove and the “Islamic Bomb”

The U.S. was not always so antagonistic to Iran’s right to sovereignty. In 1943, President Roosevelt created the Iran Declaration which was signed by both Stalin and Churchill at the Tehran Conference, effectively ending Iran’s occupation by foreign powers.

In 1957, following Eisenhower’s “Atoms for Peace” initiative, the U.S. and Iran signed the “Cooperation Concerning Civil Uses of Atoms” which led to the 1959 creation of the Tehran Nuclear Research Center. And in 1960, first generation Iranian scientists were trained at MIT. In 1967, the U.S. supplied Iran with a 5 megawatt research reactor and enriched uranium fuel!

The reason why the relationship went sour, as Washington incessantly repeats, is that Iran is no longer trustworthy after the hostage crisis debacle shortly after the 1979 Revolution. The U.S., confident on their high horse, has felt justified ever since to dictate to Iran how they should run their nation.

Funny that it is hardly ever mentioned in the same breath that the U.S. was directly involved in the illegal removal of Iran’s Prime Minister Mosaddegh in 1953 who had successfully nationalised Iran’s oil and purged the nation of its British imperialist infestation.

Iran had proceeded in accordance with international law and won the case for nationalising Iran’s oil at The Hague and UN Security Council, against the British who were claiming their company “rights” to Iran’s resources. When Britain humiliatingly lost both high profile cases, Britain and the U.S. proceeded to implement TPAJAX and illegally overthrew the constitutional government of Iran, removing Mosaddegh as Prime Minister and installing an abiding puppet in his place.

Despite this, the U.S. acts as if it were justified in its incredibly hostile 40 year foreign policy towards Iran, largely over a hostage crisis (to which all hostages were safely returned home), and which was likely purposefully provoked by the U.S. as a pretext to sabotaging the European Monetary System (see my paper on this).

If Iran can forgive what the U.S. did to throw their country into disarray and keep their beloved leader Mosaddegh locked away as a political prisoner for the rest of his life, who was even refused a proper burial (1), then the U.S. government is in no position to harbour such distrust and hatred over the distant past.

Although Iran is also incessantly accused of alleged terrorist activity, there is not one international court case to date that has actually provided evidence to follow through with such charges. What is standing in the way of this occurring if Iran’s crimes are apparently so immense and far reaching and are a matter of international security, as the U.S. government frequently protests?

These alleged terrorist accusations seem to be based in the same form of “reasoning” behind the incessant accusations that Iran is planning on building an “Islamic Bomb”. In 2007, under the fanatical neoconservative Dick Cheney (via operation Clean Break), the U.S. came very close to invading Iran on the pretext that Iran was actively working towards such a goal.

These threats occurred despite the Director of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), ElBaradei, insisting that Iran was cooperating with the IAEA demands in accordance with NPT standards and that there was no evidence to support that Iran was working on nuclear weapons. In fact, ElBaradei was so upset over Washington’s threats of war that he took to the press daily to emphasise that Iran was cooperating fully and there was no evidence to justify an invasion.

However, it wouldn’t be until the release of the National Intelligence Estimate on Dec 3, 2007 that Cheney’s fantasy was finally dashed against the rocks. Within the NIE report, which was produced by American intelligence agencies, it was made crystal clear that Iran in fact had no military nuclear program since at least 2003 but possibly even further back. It was also no secret that the only reason why the report was made public was because members of the American intelligence community made it known that they were willing to go to the press about it, even if it meant ending up in prison.

Incredibly, Bush’s response to the press over this news was “Iran was dangerous, Iran is dangerous, and Iran will continue to be dangerous…”

Looking past the absurdity of Bush’s statement that Iran is dangerous, only 5 years after the illegal invasion of Iraq, justified by cooked British Intelligence, and the very real attempt to invade Iran in turn over fabricated accusations, the issue is in fact nothing to do with what Washington is claiming is their problem with Iran.

Atoms for Peace or Nuclear Apartheid?

The real “problem” with Iran is that it has become a great thorn in the “arc of crisis” game-plan. Despite Iran once being flooded with MI6, CIA and Israeli Mossad operatives, the Iranians have been largely successful in purging their nation of this infestation. Iran is thus refusing to be the west’s geopolitical linchpin. The more autonomous and prosperous Iran becomes, the greater the thorn.

The assassination of Gen. Maj. Soleimani in Jan 2020, was meant to be nothing less than a blatant provocation, as Bolton giddily tweeted, to cause Iran to take a misstep that would have justified a U.S. invasion and allowed for a reboot of the “arc of crisis”, flooding the country with actual terrorist groups, following the Iraq and Libyan models.

The real “threat” of Iran was expressed clearly when then President Bush Jr. visited the Middle East in Jan 2008 in an attempt to organise Arab states to offer their territory for U.S. military aggression against Iran. What he received as a response whether in Kuwait, Bahrain, UAE or Saudi Arabia was a resounding no.

The Al-Riyadh newspaper, which represents the views of the Saudi government, went so far as to state “We refuse to be used to launch wars or tensions with Iran…If the president [of the U.S.] wants to obtain the solidarity of all the Arabs…he must focus, rationally, on the most important issue which is the question of peace.

Overlapping Bush’s visit, the Foreign Minister of Iraq joined with the Iranian Foreign Minister at a Tehran press conference to announce: “My country knows who is our friend and who is our enemy, and Iran is our friend.

It is clear that despite the attempts to bring these nations to each other’s throats, the jig is up, and the tyrannical presence of the U.S. military in the Middle East is only going to unite these countries further. There will be no T.E. Lawrence organising of a Bedouin tribe this time around.

It is understood that if Iran were permitted to enter the world markets unhindered and to develop nuclear energy to sufficiently provide for its people, then Iran would become one of the top countries in the world. And as their Arab neighbours recognise, this would bring not only wealth and prosperity to their nations in turn, but the very much desired peace and security.

Iran as an economic powerhouse would also certainly align itself with Russia and China, as it has already begun, due to their common philosophy oriented in a multipolar governance frame emphasised by a win-win idea of economic cooperation. This alliance would naturally draw India, Japan and notably western Europe into its economic framework like the gravitational pull of a sun, and would result in the termination of the NATO-U.S. military industrial complex by ending the divide between east and west politics.

The fight for nuclear energy has always been about the fight for the right to develop one’s nation. And economic development of regions, such as the Middle East, is key to achieving sustainable peace. The reason why most countries are not “granted” this right to use nuclear power is because they are meant to remain as “serf” countries under a unipolar world order. Additionally, amongst the “privileged” countries who have been given the green light to possess uranium enrichment facilities, they are being told that they now need to shut down these nuclear capabilities under a Green New Deal.

This unipolar outlook was made evident by the Bush Administration’s attempt to assert guidelines that no country should be allowed to enrich uranium even to the low levels required for fuel for nuclear electric power plants, unless it is already in the U.S. dominated “Nuclear Suppliers Group”. All other nations would only be permitted to purchase power plant fuel from these “supplier” countries…with political conditions of course.

Everyone knows that oil revenues are not reliable for financing economic growth and Venezuela is a stark example of this. By limiting countries in the Middle East to oil as the main revenue, an incredibly volatile economic situation for the entire region is created, in addition to a complete subservience to “oil geopolitics”. Every nation has the right to defend itself against economic warfare by diversifying and stabilising its economy, and nuclear energy is absolutely key.

In British-based financial oligarchism, which is what runs the City of London (the financial center of the world for over 400 years to this day), the essential policy outlook which lurks behind the international oil cartels, is that who controls the oil, gas, strategic minerals, and food production will ultimately control the world, after the mass of paper values of a dying financial system have been swept away.

Also by this author

Cynthia Chung is a lecturer, writer and co-founder and editor of the Rising Tide Foundation (Montreal, Canada).

How to Take Back Control of Your Mind

A Historical Reminder of What Defines the United States, As Told by a Former Slave

The Enemy Within: A Story of the Purge of American Intelligence

The Sword of Damocles Over Western Europe: Follow the Trail of Blood and OilTo Understand Iran’s 150-Year Fight, Follow the Trail of Blood and Oil

The author can be reached at cynthiachung@tutanota.com

In tortured logic, Trump begs for a do-over on the Iran nuclear deal

Source

Written by Tyler Cullis and Trita Parsi

Even the Trump administration seems to grudgingly have concluded that breaching the Iran nuclear deal (JCPOA) was a mistake. More than two years after the U.S. exit, the deal still stands while the Trump administration is running out of options to force a re-negotiation. It is now so desperate it is seeking to convince the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) that it never quit the deal in the first place. The lesson to the U.S. is clear: Diplomatic vandalism carries costs — even for a superpower. The lesson to a prospective President Joe Biden is more specific: Rejoin the nuclear deal, don’t try to renegotiate it.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo claims that UNSC Resolution 2231 defines the term “JCPOA participant” to be inclusive of the United States, and nothing the United States could do or has done can change this supposed legal fact.  According to Pompeo, even though the Trump administration repeatedly referred to its “withdrawal” from the JCPOA as a “cessation of its participation” in the agreement, UNSCR 2231 continues to define the United States as a “JCPOA participant” that can invoke the resolution’s sanctions snapback mechanism. 

The snapback permits a “JCPOA participant” to provide notification to the Security Council of a case of significant non-performance by a party to the agreement, triggering the automatic re-institution of former Security Council sanctions resolutions targeting Iran. No Russian or Chinese veto can prevent the reimposition of the sanctions contained in those resolutions. Only a resolution agreed to within 30 days that would undo the snapback — but the U.S. has the ability to veto such a resolution.

This is why the Obama administration cherished the snapback — if Iran were to renege on its nuclear commitments, the reimposition of sanctions would be swift and automatic. 

But this leverage was lost when Trump abandoned the deal in 2018 (the Presidential memoranda announcing the decision was even titled “Ceasing U.S. Participation in the JCPOA”). A senior Iranian diplomat told us at the time that Tehran was shocked that Trump would forgo this advantage. 

Now Trump is begging for a do-over. Despite the legal debate over Pompeo’s interpretation of UNSCR 2231, Trump’s gambit will prove less a legal question than a political one. The issue is not so much whether the United States remains a “JCPOA participant,” but whether the other members of the Security Council — and most prominently, its permanent members — will recognize the United States as such and allow Trump to issue a reverse veto to ensure the full re-imposition of U.N. sanctions on Iran. 

That is less likely to happen — and for an obvious reason: the Trump administration has spent the last three years squandering any international goodwill towards the United States, abandoning international agreements, strong-arming allies, and cozying up to dictators. It has threatened and cajoled its European allies to abandon legitimate trade with Iran or risk the wrath of punishing U.S. sanctions — all for the purpose of killing a fully functioning nuclear agreement that Europe views as essential to its security. Trump will need the sympathy of Europe’s permanent members to the Security Council. But no sympathy is likely to be forthcoming.

But even if Europe were to succumb to Trump’s pressure, it is unclear what objectives stand to be achieved. If, as Trump and his allies fear, a Biden administration would rejoin the nuclear accord, the snapback of U.N. sanctions is unlikely to pose a significant impediment to doing so, other than raising the cost to the United States for a return to the JCPOA. Nothing would prevent a President Biden to support the immediate reinstitution of UNSCR 2231. 

The danger, instead, is that Iran, having witnessed the malicious use of the snapback, will demand that any future resolution drop the snapback procedure. Considering that Iran will be weighing the merits of leaving the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) and terminating its safeguards agreement with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) as a result of the U.N. snapback, the Biden administration would likely be forced to choose between eating that cost or escalating militarily against Iran in its first months in office. 

This underscores the real reason for Trump’s move: the U.S. is out of leverage when it comes to Iran. While U.S. sanctions have decimated Iran’s economy, they have not forced Iran to accede to Trump’s demands. Iran has neither begged for talks nor abandoned the JCPOA. Its posture remains essentially the same, immune to Trump’s best efforts to cause it to lash out to international approbation. 

Though immense pain, Iran has sapped the U.S. of its leverage while keeping its own intact. Tehran can (and has) scale back its commitments to the JCPOA in response to Trump’s actions, it can abandon the JCPOA or even withdraw from the NPT and terminate its safeguards agreement with the IAEA. These, and other options, remain in Iran’s arsenal, unused for the time being but ready to be deployed should the U.S. continue on its path of diplomatic vandalism. 

This is why Biden must dispel with any illusion that he can seek a renegotiation of the JCPOA on the back of Trump’s sanctions. If a Biden administration were to signal to Tehran that it will not seek a clean return to the JCPOA, then Iran will begin using the leverage it has kept in store.

If Trump succeeds in snapping back U.N. sanctions, Biden would not even be able to leverage the risk to Iran in international isolation, as Iran would be already isolated internationally by virtue of the U.N. sanctions. Biden’s sole recourse would be to threaten war with Iran — a terrible prospect for an incoming administration that will be fighting off a deadly pandemic, resuscitating a depressed economy, and operating under the promise of being different from Trump.

Trump overplayed his hand by thinking he could renegotiate the nuclear deal and is now begging for a do-over. Candidate Biden should take note and signal clearly already now that he does not intend to repeat this mistake.

Nonbelligerent Iran v. Nuclear Armed and Dangerous Israel

By Stephen Lendman

Source

The agenda of both countries are world’s apart. Iran is the region’s leading advocate of peace, stability, and mutual cooperations with other nations.

It fully observes its JCPOA and NPT obligations. It resists major power pressures, maintains its sovereign independence, and opposes neocolonialism, especially US-led Western domination.

It’s been a Non-Aligned Movement member since its 1979 revolution. At the NAM summit in Havana that year, Fidel Castro said the following:

The NAM’s purpose is to ensure “the national independence, sovereignty, territorial integrity, and security of non-aligned countries (in their) struggle against imperialism, colonialism, neocolonialism, racism, and all forms of foreign aggression, occupation, domination, interference or hegemony as well as as against great power and bloc politic.”

Like Cuba, Bolivarian Venezuela, and other nations unwilling to abandon their sovereign independence to a higher power in Washington, the Islamic Republic of Iran’s adherence to these principles made it a prime US target for regime change — notably because of its world’s third largest oil reserves and second largest natural gas deposits, along with being Israel’s main regional rival and challenging its revanchist aims.

Israel is nuclear-armed and dangerous, developing these weapons since the mid-1950s, its well-known open secret the official narrative conceals.

Its ruling authorities refused to sign the NPT or abide by its provisions. Nor do they permit IAEA inspections of their nuclear facilities.

According to the Federation of American Scientists and other experts, its nuke warheads can be launched by air, ground, sea, or sub-surface — able to strike targets in the Middle East and elsewhere.

It’s believed the Jewish state also has 100 or more laser-guided mini-nuke bunker-buster bombs — able to penetrate and destroy underground targets.

According to the establishment front organization Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), “US inspections of Israeli nuclear sites in the 1960s proved largely fruitless because of restrictions placed on the inspectors.”

The Carnegie Endowment for International Peace’s Joseph Circincione earlier said (e)veryone knows about Israel’s bombs in the closet.”

Yet the West fails to contest their threat to regional peace and security.

Iran’s nuclear program has no military component and never did, its ruling authorities wanting these weapons eliminated everywhere.

Unlike the US and Israel, permitting no inspections of their nuclear weapons sites, Iran’s legitimate nuclear facilities are the world’s most heavily monitored, its ruling authorities fully cooperating with IAEA inspectors.

Iran’s ballistic, cruise, and other missiles are solely for self-defense, its program fully complying with its obligations under Security Council Res. 2231, unanimously affirming the JCPOA nuclear deal.

No Iranian ballistic or other missiles are designed to carry nuclear warheads, conventional ones alone. No evidence suggests otherwise.

Neither SC 2231 or any other SC resolutions prohibit Tehran’s legitimate ballistic missile development, testing and production. 

The right to self-defense is inviolable under international law, UN Charter Article 51 stating:

“Nothing in the present Charter shall impair the inherent right of individual or collective self-defense if an armed attack occurs against a Member of the United Nations, until the Security Council has taken measures necessary to maintain international peace and security.”

The right of self-defense pertains solely to deterring armed attacks, preventing future ones after initial assaults, or reversing the consequences of enemy aggression.

At the same time, force must conform to the principles of necessity, distinction, and proportionality — what US-dominated NATO and Israel ignore when waging preemptive wars.

Necessity permits only attacking military targets. Distinction pertains to distinguishing between civilian and military ones.

Proportionality prohibits disproportionate force, likely to damage nonmilitary sites and/or harm civilian lives.

A fourth consideration requires prevention of unnecessary suffering, especially affecting noncombatants.

Anticipatory self-defense is permitted when compelling evidence shows likely imminent threats or further attacks after initial ones.

Iran hasn’t attacked another country in centuries — what US-dominated NATO and Israel do repeatedly.

According to Israeli media Friday, the IDF conducted a missile test, launched from a military base in central Israel, a statement saying:

“The defense establishment (sic) conducted a launch test a few minutes ago of a rocket propulsion system from (its  Palmachim airbase south of Tel Aviv). The test was scheduled in advance and was carried out as planned.”

The Times of Israel reported the following:

“Israel does not publicly acknowledge having ballistic missiles in its arsenals, though according to foreign reports, the Jewish state possesses a nuclear-capable variety known as the Jericho that has a multi-stage engine, a 5,000-kilometer range and is capable of carrying a 1,000-kilogram warhead.”

According to Haaretz, Friday’s test came “amid increasing tension between Israel and Iran and was intended to send a clear message.”

Iranian Foreign Minister Zarif slammed Israel’s test, saying the following:

“Israel today tested a nuke-missile, aimed at Iran. E3 (UK, France, and Germany) and US never complain about the only nuclear arsenal in West Asia – armed with missiles actually DESIGNED to be capable of carrying nukes.”

The West has “fits of apoplexy over our conventional and defensive” missiles, capable of carrying conventional warheads alone.

In response to Britain, France, and Germany falsely accusing Iran of breaching SC Res. 2231 by developing “nuclear-capable ballistic missiles” by letter to UN Secretary General Guterres, Zarif responded sharply, tweeting:

“Latest E3 (Britain, France and Germany) letter to UNSG on missiles is a desperate falsehood to cover up their miserable incompetence in fulfilling bare minimum of their own #JCPOA obligations.”

“If E3 want a modicum of global credibility, they can begin by exerting sovereignty rather than bowing to US bullying.”

On Monday, he tweeted: “@SecPompeo once again admits that US #Economic Terrorism on Iran is designed to starve, and in the case of medical supplies, kill our innocent citizens.”

Earlier to the E3 and EU, he tweeted: “To my EU/E3 Colleagues 

“Fully upheld commitments under JCPOA…YOU? Really?

Just show ONE that you’ve upheld in the last 18 months”

On Wednesday, US under secretary of war for policy John Rood falsely accused Iran of building up a “hidden arsenal of short-range ballistic missiles in Iraq,” adding:

“We also continue to see indications, and for obvious reasons I won’t go into the details, that potential Iranian aggression could occur.”

A Wednesday NYT report, reading like a Pentagon press release, said:

“Iran has used the continuing chaos in Iraq to build up a hidden arsenal of short-range ballistic missiles in Iraq (sic), part of a widening effort to try to intimidate the Middle East and assert its power (sic)” — citing unnamed US military and intelligence officials, adding: 

Iran “pose(s) a threat to American allies and partners in the region, including Israel and Saudi Arabia, and could endanger American troops (sic).”

Phony claims about any Iranian nuclear and regional threat posed by the nation were debunked time and again.

Tehran has military advisors in Syria and Iraq at the behest of their ruling authorities. They’re involved in combatting US-supported ISIS and likeminded jihadists.

The Islamic Republic threatens no other nations. US-dominated NATO and Israel threaten humanity.

 

Iran: IAEA’s inspector had explosive nitrates

Tehran says an IAEA inspector who was barred from entering a nuclear facility in central Iran had tested positive for explosive nitrates.

Thu Nov 7, 2019 04:44PM

Iran’s ambassador to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) says he has communicated Tehran’s concerns about security of the country’s nuclear facilities to the agency, especially with regard to an IAEA inspector who was prevented from entering an Iranian nuclear site for carrying “suspicious” materials.

Kazem Gharib-Abadi said on Thursday following an extraordinary meeting of the Board of Governors of the IAEA that he had offered a lengthy report on this issue to IAEA’s board, detailing everything that happened from entry of the aforesaid inspector to Iran till the time she left the country.

“I emphasized that Iran has security concerns in this regard and does not intend to violate immunity of IAEA’s inspectors, because we have not violated their rights and are aware of the stipulations of international law and our commitments.”

Iran’s IAEA envoy noted that detectors at Iran’s Natanz nuclear facility had issued alarms with regards to this inspector, showing that she was carrying dangerous materials, saying, “Various measures were taken later and detectors were used at various locations, giving the same result, even when they were applied to her handbag.”

Noting that an investigation is underway on this issue in cooperation with the agency, Gharib-Abadi said, “We told members of the IAEA that in view of the past record of acts of sabotage against our nuclear facilities, we will under no circumstances compromise our national security and security of our nuclear facilities, and we insist that the agency must offer us full cooperation to carry this investigation until its final stage.”

He emphasized that the agency has announced in writing that it is ready to cooperate with Iran in the investigation of the incident regarding its inspector and this issue has been welcomed by the Iranian side.

The Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) on Wednesday announced that an inspector of the International Atomic Energy Agency, who was prevented from entering a nuclear site of the Islamic Republic, has left the country.

The AEOI added that the female monitor left her mission unfinished and flew out of Iran after security staff at the Natanz uranium enrichment facility didn’t let her in.

“As it is protocol, all of the IAEA inspectors’ belongings are closely inspected and scanned before they enter any of the country’s nuclear facilities,” read the AEOI statement.

“Upon this lady inspector’s entry, the security control machines sounded the alarm and denied her entry,” it said, adding that Iran had reported the issue to the IAEA.

Iran also told the international agency in the report that the inspector’s previous admissions at various sites were all scrapped and as a result, she decided to abort her mission and go back to the Austrian capital of Vienna.

Iran Keeping Window of Diplomacy Open – AEOI

By Staff, Agencies

Spokesman of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran [AEOI] Behrouz Kamalvandi said on Monday that the reduced commitment to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action [JCPOA] is not made out of pertinacity, rather it aims to open a window to diplomacy and awaken the other states parties to the deal to honor their obligations.

“The JCPOA was a trading deal that what Iran gave was much more than what it received, because the other side, particularly after the US withdrawal from the deal, forgot their obligations,” Kamalvandi said.

“What Iran is doing in terms of nuclear measures is aimed at reminding the signatories with their obligations,” Kamalvandi said.

Recently, Tehran said that at the second phase of its measures to preserve the nuclear deal, it officially launches enriching uranium beyond the 3.67 percent limit that is set by the deal. The first stage came on the anniversary of the US withdrawal from the JCPOA in May 2018 when Iran announced the reduction of its commitments to the deal.

Referring to President Rouhani’s letter to the signatories to the deal, Kmalavandi said, “The president has reminded that if the chances given by Iran are not used, the Islamic Republic will reduce its commitments based on the content of the deal through two-month periods.”

He added that at the end of the first period, Iran exceeded the 300 kg ceiling for stockpiling enriched uranium and heavy water, breaking the limit of 3.67 percent in enrichment and producing enriched fuel for nuclear power plant with a purity of 5.4 percent.

The measures are not taken out of stubbornness, rather it is meant to keep the window of diplomacy open for the other side, he said.

“If the European signatories and the US do not stick to their commitments, we will strike a balance in the deal by reducing our own commitments and roll back the situation to what it was in four years ago,” Kamalvandi explained.

“In the meantime, let’s keep in mind that Iran has fulfilled all its obligations, as the reports of the International Atomic Energy Agency [IAEA] also verified,” he stressed.

Related Videos

Related News

Zarif Mocks US for its Defeat at Yesterday’s IAEA Meeting – General Suleimani: US Administration Inherently Brings Insecurity

July 11, 2019
Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif

The US requested a meeting of the Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Board of Governors against Iran, but it ended up in its own isolation, according to the Iranian foreign minister on Thursday.

Speaking at a conference attended by Iranian governors from across the country in Tehran on Thursday, the Iranian top diplomat Mohammad Javad Zarif referred to the yesterday’s meeting of International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Board of Governors, which was held on Wednesday at the request of the United States to discuss the latest developments in Iran’s nuclear program, saying that “the US held a meeting of the Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Board of Governors but it ended up in its own isolation. The world superpower failed to gain even a ‘one single line statement’ from the Board of the Governors at the presence of all its allies.”

The foreign minister also said that the US has held four UN Security Council meetings against Iran since last year, one of which was chaired by its president, but they failed to gain a ‘single-word statement’ or a resolution from the Security Council.

Zarif referred to the US National Security Adviser John Bolton who had predicted that the Islamic Republic would not see its 40th anniversary two years ago, saying  “the United States miscalculated that the Islamic Republic would collapse…and conveyed this belief to its allies that if they kill time, the Islamic Republic would collapse.” He added that “but with reliance on the people, the Iranian nation have proven the Westerners and the US calculations to be wrong.”

July 11, 2019

Iran's Quds Force Chief, Major General Qassem Suleimani

Commander of the Quds Force of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) Major General Qasem Suleimani stressed that security destabilization is part and parcel of the US administration’s nature.

“The U.S. government inherently brings insecurity. You can’t find any region where they could have brought security by their force and presence,” Suleimani said via Twitter.

Source: Al-Manar English Website

Related News

Zarif Describes US-Called Meeting of IAEA Ironical

Zarif Describes US-Called Meeting of IAEA Ironical

Wed Jul 10, 2019 5:48

TEHRAN (FNA)- Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said it was paradoxical that the IAEA Board of Governors is holding a meeting on Tehran’s compliance with the nuclear deal upon a request by the US while Washington has repetitively voiced contempt against it and breached the deal.

In a tweet on Wednesday, Zarif reminded that the US government was the first country which violated the nuclear deal of 2015 between Iran and the Sextet, five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council plus Germany, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), adding that it was ironical that the Board of Governors of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) was holding a meeting on Iran’s compliance with the deal at the request of the US.

Referring to the remarks made by US President Donald Trump who has described time and again the JCPOA as the worst deal ever signed by the US, the Iranian diplomatic chief underlined that the “US abhors [the] JCPOA”.

He then stated that the White House not only discarded the agreement and acted in violation of its terms, but also levied sanctions on every entity trying to honor it.

According to Zarif, the White House is unfit to object any matter in regard with the JCPOA, as the US has withdrawn from the agreement and is no longer a party to it.

Zarif stressed that 15 reports by the IAEA verified and attested Tehran’s full compliance with the agreement.

He articulated that his country’s new measures were in line with the terms under the paragraph 36 of the nuclear accord.

Earlier on the day, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani derided the US move to call for an emergency meeting of the Board of Governors of the IAEA as an unprecedented event in the world, mocking at the US alleged concerns about Iran’s performance under the nuclear deal.

“On one side, Americans described the JCPOA as the worst possible deal and withdrew from it without any excuse and on the other side, when Iran reduces its commitments to the deal, they all express concern; while all should concern about the US that has violated the whole deal,” said Rouhani in a Wednesday cabinet session.

“They have called for an emergency meeting of Board of Governors [of the International Atomic energy Agency (IAEA)], asking why Iran has abandoned some of its JCPOA commitments. This is a funny story that US is following and such measures are rare in the world’s political history,” he added.

Upon the US request, the IAEA Board of Governors will hold a meeting today to discuss the latest status of Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. Iran says US request for a BoG session is a ‘sad irony’ as it was the United States who ruined the deal in the first place.

Americans say that Iran’s uranium enrichment is a bad measure but they don’t elaborate that why they do it themselves as the sole country in the world which has used nukes, Rouhani said.

“Does enrichment which leads to the construction of fuel for a power reactor, satisfies people’s needs for water desalination or electricity, leads to the production of radiopharmaceuticals for the treatment of illnesses, and has thousands of other peaceful applications bad for Iran and good for others?” he framed.

Iran has announced cuts to its JCPOA commitments after other signatories to the deal failed to comply with their obligations. Iran is asking other signatories to shield its economy from US unilateral sanctions which were imposed after Washington withdrew from the deal in 2018.

Tehran says all its current measures to reduce its JCPOA commitments are according to paragraphs 26 and 36 of the deal.

Washington withdrew from the internationally-endorsed 2015 nuclear deal with Iran on May 2018, reimposed the toughest-ever sanctions against the country and started a plan to zero down Tehran’s oil sales.

Under the nuclear agreement reached between Iran and six world powers in July 2015, Tehran undertook to put limits on its nuclear program in exchange for the removal of nuclear-related sanctions.

Yet, Iran continued compliance with the deal, stressing that the remaining signatories to the agreement, specially the Europeans had to work to offset the negative impacts of the US pullout for Iran if they want Tehran to remain in compliance. The Iranian officials had earlier warned that the European Union’s failure in providing the needed ground for Tehran to enjoy the economic benefits of the nuclear deal would exhaust the country’s patience.

Almost a year later, however, the EU failed to provide Tehran with its promised merits. Then, the US state department announced that it had not extended two waivers, one that allowed Iran to store excess heavy water produced in the uranium enrichment process in Oman, and one that allowed Iran to swap enriched uranium for raw yellowcake with Russia.

Until May, Iran was allowed to ship low-enriched uranium produced at Natanz to Russia before it hit the 300-kg limit and the US measure leaves no way for Tehran other than exceeding the ceiling for storing the enriched uranium in violation of the 2015 nuclear deal.

Also, the United States would no longer waive sanctions that allowed Iran to ship heavy water produced at its Arak facility beyond a 300-ton limit set in the 2015 nuclear deal to Oman for storage which again forces Tehran to store it inside country in violation of the nuclear deal.

In return, Iran’s Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) announced in a statement on May 8 that the country had modified two of its undertakings under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action in return for the US abrogation of the deal and other signatories inability to make up for the losses under the agreement, warning that modifications would continue if the world powers failed to take action in line with their promises.

“The Islamic Republic of Iran declares that at the current stage, it does not any more see itself committed to respecting the limitations on keeping enriched uranium and heavy water reserves,” the statement said.

Then Iran gave Europe 60 days to either normalize economic ties with Iran or accept the modification of Tehran’s obligations under the agreement and implement the Europe’s proposed Instrument in Support of Trade Exchange (INSTEX) to facilitate trade with Iran.

Iran set up and registered a counterpart to INSTEX called Special Trade and Financing Instrument between Iran and Europe (STFI) to pave the way for bilateral trade.

Then on June 28, Secretary General of the European External Action Service (EEAS) Helga Schmid announced that INSTEX has become operational.

“INSTEX now operational, first transactions being processed and more EU Members States to join. Good progress on Arak and Fordow projects,” Schmid wrote on her twitter account after a meeting of the Joint Commission on JCPOA ended in Vienna following three and a half hours of talks by the remaining signatories to the deal (the EU3 and Russia and China).

It was the 12th meeting of the Joint Commission on JCPOA in Vienna.

Meantime, seven European countries–Austria, Belgium, Finland, the Netherlands, Slovenia, Spain and Sweden–in a joint statement expressed their support for the efforts for implementation of the INSTEX.

Later, Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Seyed Abbas Araqchi described the nuclear deal joint commission meeting with the Europeans as “a step forward”, but meantime, reminded that it did not meet Iran’s expectations.

“It was a step forward, but it is still not enough and not meeting Iran’s expectations,” said Araqchi, who headed the Iranian delegation at the JCPOA joint commission meeting in Vienna.

Despite their non-commitment to undertakings under the JCPOA, the Europeans took a step against Iran’s interests last Thursday by seizing an Iranian oil tanker by Britain at the US request.

Acting Spanish Foreign Minister Josep Borrell said Gibraltar detained the supertanker Grace 1 after a request by the United States to Britain.

Borrell was quoted by Reuters as saying that Spain was looking into the seizure of the ship and how it may affect Spanish sovereignty as it appears to have happened in Spanish waters.

Spain does not recognize the waters around Gibraltar as British.

Experts believe that the measure taken by the British government in seizing the Syria-bound Iranian tanker is illegal and can have serious consequences for the government in London as it would mean a lethal blow to the JCPOA.

Related News

Iran says next option is 20% uranium enrichment

An Iranian security official in protective clothing walks through a uranium conversion facility in 2005.

An Iranian security official in protective clothing walks through a uranium conversion facility in 2005.

Iran has warned its next step in reducing commitments under the 2015 nuclear deal will be stronger, with a senior nuclear official saying that 20% uranium enrichment is an option. 

Spokesman for Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization Behrouz Kamalvandi said Monday Tehran has passed the 3.67% uranium enrichment cap set by a 2015 nuclear deal and reached about 4.5%.

“Twenty percent is not needed now, but if we want we will produce it. When we’ve put aside 3.67% enrichment we have no obstacle or problem with this action,” Kamalvandi said.

Options for enriching at higher levels have been discussed with the Supreme National Security Council, the spokesman said.

“There is the 20% option and there are options even higher than that but each in its own place. Today if our country’s needs are one thing, we won’t pursue something else just to scare the other side a little more. But they know it’s an upward trend,” he said.

Kamalvandi said increasing the number of centrifuges is an option for Iran’s third step in reducing its commitments to the nuclear deal, noting that restarting IR-2 and IR-2 M centrifuges is an option.

The remaining European signatories to the nuclear deal, he said, should act quickly to fulfill their promises because Iran will continue reducing its commitments to the deal until it achieves a result.

China blasts US ‘bullying’

China said “unilateral bullying” by the United States was the cause behind Iran’s measures.

“The facts show that unilateral bullying has already become a worsening tumor,” said Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang at a press briefing in Beijing Monday.

The US withdrew from the nuclear deal in May 2018 and began reimposing sanctions on Iran in August 2018, targeting crucial sectors including oil exports and the banking system.

“The maximum pressure exerted by the US on Iran is the root cause of the Iranian nuclear crisis,” Geng said.

The 2015 deal was reached between Iran and six world powers — Britain, China, France, Germany, the United States and Russia — and saw Tehran agree to drastically scale down its nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief.

France, Germany and Britain — the remaining Europeans partners of the international deal — have urged Tehran to halt its advance towards higher enrichment and warned the country of unspecified consequences.

Iran warns Europeans against ‘strange’

Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi warned European countries on Monday against any “strange” response to its move.

The diplomat noted that any action Iran takes next would be within the legal framework set by the JCPOA, “unless some countries want to take strange actions, in which case we will skip the third step and jump to the critical one.”

Asked if Tehran could withdraw entirely from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), as the nuclear deal is called, Mousavi said “all the options” are possible but “no decision has been taken.”

“We will take the third step in 60 days and are still weighing (our options), but if the remaining countries, particularly the Europeans, fail to honor their commitments…we will take the third step stronger,” Mousavi said.

On the possibility of reversing the decisions as the Europeans have demanded, Mousavi said Iran would only consider a reversal once the Europeans “meet our expectations and demands.”

Commenting on Russia and China’s position on recent developments, Mousavi said, “Iran has not pinned hope on any country, neither friendly ones such as Russia and China, nor the European countries. What is important is their commitment to their obligations under the deal.”

Iran will not play into the hands of others either, he asserted, arguing that the Islamic Republic “will decide independently on the basis of its national interests and security.”

The Iranian official said any further negotiations on the JCPOA will only concern the implementation of its provisions and Tehran will not take part in talks for a new deal or changing the terms of the current agreement.

He said Iran does not “roll out a red carpet for the US, but its return to its [JCPOA] commitments will be a welcome step.”

He described as “bizarre” a recent request by Washington for an emergency meeting of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) on Iran, saying if such a meeting is ever held Iran “will bring up all the broken promises” by the other sides.

Related Videos

 

 

Related News

 

 

%d bloggers like this: