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Russia, China and Iran signal allied stance before nuclear talks

Iran's President Ebrahim Raisi. (AFP/Getty Images/TNS)

Iran’s President Ebrahim Raisi and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin discussed U.S. sanctions against Tehran and the future of the 2015 nuclear deal before negotiations to revive the ailing accord resume on Nov. 29.

The Tuesday phone call between Putin and Raisi followed a statement by China that it “reached a broad consensus” with Iran and Russia on the nuclear deal, without giving more details. The comments point to a united front between the three countries as world powers, including the European Union, prepare for indirect talks between Iran and the U.S. in Vienna.

Hopes of restoring the landmark agreement that the U.S. unilaterally abandoned in 2018 have dampened significantly since hard-line cleric Raisi was elected president of Iran in June and appointed a hawkish foreign policy team lead by officials who have been highly critical of the nuclear deal.

The longtime foes haven’t been able to agree on how the U.S. should return to the pact or how it can provide Iran a guarantee that it won’t back out of it again. Russia has said it supports Tehran’s call for both a guarantee against future U.S. withdrawal and the removal of all sanctions that violate the original deal.

According to an official statement, Raisi told Putin that Iran was ready to finalize a long-term cooperation agreement with Russia to strengthen economic ties, underscoring increasing efforts by Tehran to expand trade and strategic alliances with Russia and China in response to Washington’s exit from the nuclear accord.

Earlier this year, Iran joined Russia and China as the latest member of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization and hosted a summit on Afghanistan that included Beijing and Moscow. Iran and Russia are also set to convene a joint military commission in Tehran in the coming months to discuss defense cooperation.


© 2021 Bloomberg L.P.
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