Russia has censured the United States and the Persian Gulf Arab countries for engaging in “destructive” activities, including military moves, against Iran, saying such an approach only exacerbates the problems.
Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov told Sputnik news agency on Wednesday that the pressure campaign, which has seen the US build up its military presence in the Middle East region, could provoke clashes.
Washington’s Arab allies in the Persian Gulf region have supported President Donald Trump’s bellicose Iran policy, especially his decision to withdraw the US from an international nuclear deal last year.
A year after exiting the 2015 deal, the US announced a highly provocative plan to dispatch military reinforcements to the Middle East, including an aircraft carrier strike group and a bomber task force, citing an alleged, unspecified Iranian threat.
The military deployment — which reportedly took place with the green light of Saudi Arabia and other Persian Gulf Arab regimes — sparked global concerns that the US may be planning to wage war on Iran.
Riyabkov further said the policies adopted by Washington and its Persian Gulf Arab allies toward Iran regarding its oil exports and the 2015 nuclear deal — officially named the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) — are “irresponsible.”
As part of its sanctions on Iran, the US — backed by oil-rich Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates — has been attempting to cut Iran’s oil exports to “zero” by preventing Tehran’s customers from buying Iranian crude.
Ryabkov also noted that Moscow was seeking political and diplomatic solutions to the Persian Gulf problems.
He referred to a recent offer by Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif to sign non-aggression agreements with the Persian Gulf states, saying the proposal had already been put forward by Russia.
Elsewhere, Riyabkov said the prospect of the JCPOA is bleak if the remaining signatories to the agreement fail to provide a mechanism meant to compensate Iran in the face of US sanctions.
Such a mechanism, under which Iran can sell an acceptable level of its oil, would increase the chance to save the nuclear accord, he added.
Ryabkov also hailed Iran’s compliance with the JCPOA, stressing that Tehran had decided to scale back some of its commitments if the current situation continues unchanged.