Russia’s Ambassador to Tehran has sought to pour cold water on fears that a newly-sanctioned Russia is trying to obstruct a return to the JCPOA. At a press conference on Wednesday, Levan Jagarian told reporters from ISNA, ILNA and Tasnim News Agencies, as well as the IRIB’s PressTV, that there had been a “misunderstanding”. “We will provide the Iranian side with the necessary explanations through diplomatic resources,” he added. “We will officially explain the issue to the Iranian friends.”
Earlier in the week, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov had said Russia wanted “written guarantees” from the United States that, in the event of a new nuclear deal being struck, Russia’s trade and military-technological cooperation with Iran would not be hindered by the wide-ranging sanctions now squeezing Russia in Europe due to the Ukraine invasion. The idea of such a guarantee was rubbished by US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken, who said the JCPOA and the Ukraine sanctions were “just not in any way linked”.
Before the press conference Abolfazl Amouei, an Iranian MP and member of the parliament’s National Security and Foreign Policy committee, also tried to calm the situation: this, he said, would be a “bilateral” matter for Moscow and Washington. “Iran has done its utmost to distance the Vienna talks from ongoing relations in Eurasia, Eastern Europe and the developments in Ukraine,” he said.
The spokesman for Iran’s Foreign Ministry, Saeed Khatibzadeh, also acknowledged the remarks: “We have noticed Lavrov’s comments in the media and are waiting to hear about its details through diplomatic channels.”
At the press conference on Wednesday, the Russian ambassador also had stern instructions for Iranian state-controlled media and the public. According to one ILNA reporter present, Jagarian told them to use the term “special military operation” in their coverage of the war, adding: “This is not a military attack.” Last week, the Russian Embassy in Tehran lashed out at Tasnim News Agency for reporting on the presence of Russian fighter jets over Ukraine.
Jagarian also called on Iranians to “ignore” stories published in the Foreign Media, including Radio Farda (Tomorrow), which he condescendingly referred to as “Radio Yesterday”.