Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Monday that Iran had the right to partially suspend its commitments under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, also known as the 2015 nuclear deal.
Lavrov emphasised that the JCPOA contains clear provisions that imply that Iran made the commitments voluntarily and could halt them if other signatories to the deal fail to comply with the agreement.
Following a press conference with his Chinese counterpart, Russia's top diplomat noted that Beijing and Moscow are convinced that it is essential to maintain the agreement, and have agreed that Washington's unilateral sanctions against Iran are illegitimate and are aimed, in particular, at halting oil exports from the country.
"We also noted that the Islamic Republic of Iran remains committed to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, but expects the same from our European colleagues, who also have to implement their part of the agreements", Lavrov stressed.
The foreign minister then expressed hope to have a "candid" conversation with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on the matter, and the Europeans would reaffirm their commitment to the nuclear deal despite Washington's pressure.
"This plan and this resolution, which is binding, guarantee that Iran will freely supply its oil to world markets. Therefore, the Russian Federation will make sure that other parties to the deal, first of all our European colleagues, will fulfil their part of the agreement. There's simply no other way", Lavrov said.
In a letter, handed over to the ambassadors of the five countries, Rouhani wrote that his country has exercised patience since Washington's decision to unilaterally pull out from the agreement last May, and has given the remaining signatories significant time at their own request to make up for the US withdrawal.
“If the five countries join negotiations and help Iran to reach its benefits in the field of oil and banking, we will go back to square one. The Iranian people and the world should know that today is not the end of the JCPOA. These are actions in line with the JCPOA”, Rouhani said in his speech, as cited by Reuters.
The announcement was made on 8 May — exactly one year after the United States withdrew from the 2015 nuclear deal, which envisaged lifting anti-Tehran sanctions in exchange for Iran maintaining the peaceful nature of its nuclear programme.
Washington has reinstated all sanctions and imposed new ones, with a stated goal of bringing down Iran's oil exports to zero. At the time, the US provided eight economies — China, India, Japan, South Korea, Turkey, Italy, Greece, and Taiwan — with sanction waivers, having allowed them to continue buying Iranian crude without facing penalties for six more months, as they agreed to cut their oil purchases.
Nonetheless, last month US President Donald Trump decided not to reissue waivers once they expire in May.