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    US Trying to Impose Its Services in Economy, Defence on Other Countries - Putin

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    Following his meeting with the Austrian president, Vladimir Putin told reporters that the United States has been attempting to derail certain projects involving Russia, including Nord Stream 2, and weighed in on the escalating situation around the crumbling Iran nuclear deal.

    The United States is trying to impose its services on other countries, both in the economic and defence spheres, Russian President Vladimir Putin said during a meeting with his Austrian counterpart Alexander Van der Bellen on Wednesday.

    “As for the attempts of our American partners to derail certain agreements, some projects — I mean Nord Stream 2 and some other projects, we have repeatedly said this and want to reiterate: these are attempts of unfair competition under various political pretexts", he said.

    At the same time, Putin noted that Moscow and Washington shared many interests, including in the economic sphere.

    "I already said it yesterday, the United States has become the largest oil producer and we need to think about how we influence the global energy market", he said.

    The Russian president expressed hope that "the acute interest in the implementation of such projects that definitely correspond to the economic interests of the whole of Europe will win eventually", and stressed that Moscow was ready to "go all the way" to implement the project.

    As Putin continued by saying that Nord Stream 2 meets Europe's interests, Van der Bellen reaffirmed Austria's commitment to the EU-Russia project, and emphasised that OMV, a Vienna-based oil and gas company, had no intention to withdraw from the joint venture.

    Nord Stream 2 is a joint venture of Russian energy giant Gazprom and five European companies — French Engie, Austrian OMV AG, UK-Dutch Royal Dutch Shell, German Uniper, and Wintershall.

    The pipeline is expected to be wrapped up by the end of this year and is expected to deliver 55 billion cubic metres of Russian natural gas annually to EU countries, running through the Baltic Sea to a hub in Germany.

    Washington, which has been trying to export its LNG gas to Europe, has repeatedly called on its transatlantic allies to stop supporting the project, threatening to slap the companies involved in the pipeline's construction with sanctions.

    Iran Nuclear Deal

    Addressing the recent escalation around Iran, Putin lamented the collapse of the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, also known as the Iran nuclear deal.

    READ MORE: Iran Vows to Defeat US-Israeli Alliance Amid Rising Tensions

    The president said that he did not think that it would be right for Iran to withdraw from the agreement, because it would immediately be accused of killing the deal, even though it would have been the US that provoked the collapse.

    "I have repeatedly said in conversations with [our] Iranian partners that, in my opinion, it would be more rational for Iran to remain in this treaty, no matter what. Because as soon as Iran takes the first steps in response [to the US' exit from the JCPOA], declares that it is withdrawing, tomorrow everyone will forget that the United States was the initiator of the destruction, and everything will be blamed on Iran", he told reporters.

    Putin noted that Iran was and is "the most monitored and transparent" country in the world after signing the deal in 2015 and said that he had spoken to the chief of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), who told him that Tehran is complying with its obligations.

    At the same time, he said that the future of the deal does not depend only on Russia for it's not "a firefighting squad. We cannot rescue everything, especially when it depends on others as well. We did our part. We are ready to continue playing a positive role".

    The remarks by the Russian president follow an announcement by his Iranian counterpart Hassan Rouhani on 8 May that Tehran would partially suspend its commitments under the nuclear deal.

    Rouhani set a 60-day deadline for the five remaining signatories to the deal — France, Germany, the UK, Russia, and China — to ensure Iran’s interests are protected under the agreement or else the country would resume enriching uranium at higher levels.

    On 8 May 2018, the United States withdrew from the 2015 nuclear deal, which implied lifting anti-Tehran sanctions in exchange for Iran maintaining the peaceful nature of its nuclear programme. Washington has also re-imposed all sanctions and introduced new ones, with a stated goal of bringing down Iran's oil exports to zero.

    Tags:
    Nord Stream 2, oil, nuclear deal, Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), project, LNG, pipeline, gas, sanctions, Alexander Van der Bellen, Vladimir Putin, Hassan Rouhani, Iran, United States, Russia, Austria
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