With speculation that a new nuclear deal could be announced within days, a top Russian negotiator involved in the talks said that Iran got much more than it could have expected and was pleased with the outcome.
“Realistically speaking, Iran got much more than, frankly, I expected, others expected,” lead Russian negotiator Mikhail Ulyanov said in an interview with the Islamic Republic News Agency on Saturday.
Ulyanov – whose country is at war with Ukraine right now in a conflict that has captivated the entire world – praised Iranian leaders for their tenacity in getting what they wanted.
“Iranian clerics are fighting for Iranian national interests like lions,” he said. “Indeed, I am very serious – they fight for every comma, every word and, as a rule, quite successfully.”
“Our Chinese friends were also very efficient and useful as co-negotiators. We could easily rely on each other on many, many points – and on many many points through the joint efforts we succeeded. I can recollect dozens of such cases when on rather serious, significant questions we managed together to get positive results close to what we wanted to achieve.”
The eighth round of talks to revive the Joint Commission meetings of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) took place in Vienna this weekend. The United States under former President Barack Obama brokered the deal in 2015 but former President Donald Trump said it would enable Iran to develop nuclear weapons and withdrew from the agreement in 2018.
Trump instead implemented heavy sanctions on Tehran. However, President Joe Biden has made it his mission to get the United States back into the deal and talks began shortly after he took office last year.
The new deal does appear to be favorable for Iran, according to unnamed U.S. and Israeli officials. Israel’s Channel 12 said that according to their sources, the U.S. agreed to lift sanctions on dozens of Iranian individuals and entities that have been directly involved in terror-related activities and missile development. Unnamed American and European diplomats said the U.S. is also considering removing Iran’s notorious Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps from the terror list.
Meanwhile, Ulyanov’s words point to a tight alliance between Russia, China and Iran.
“All of us are in one boat, we have common goal and we are counterparts, which must cooperate closely,” Ulyanov said.
He dismissed reports that Russia opposes the deal.
“It is nonsense and even insulting because it is not fair,” he said. “Russia and Iran are neighbors. Iran is not an alien for us. It is a neighbor with whom we want to develop an active trade and economic relations.”
“Russia and Iran are natural allies on a big number of different issues,” he continued.
With his nation currently under sanctions as well, Ulyanov criticized the American approach of sanctions against Iran.
“We hate unilateral extra-territorial sanctions as a matter of fact and of course we wanted these sanctions to be lifted from Iran,” he said.
Nicole Jansezian is the news editor for both ALL ISRAEL NEWS and ALL ARAB NEWS and senior correspondent for ALL ISRAEL NEWS