Russia: Lifting Iran Sanctions is in our Interest

The total removal of sanctions against Iran will benefit Russia’s interests and economy, as well as bring stability to the region, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said. He noted there is no UN ban on oil and gas trade with Tehran

“The lifting of anti-Iranian sanctions – both those imposed by the United Nations Security Council and all unilateral restrictions – meets our national interests,” Lavrov said in an exclusive interview with Argumenty i Fakty (Arguments & Facts) weekly. “We are confident that de-escalation of tension around Iran will improve bilateral trade-and-economic ties and, correspondingly, will be beneficial for Russia.”

Lavrov in particular stressed that there are no UN Security Council bans on exports of Iranian oil and gas.

“Tehran has been selling hydrocarbons to states that are not afraid of unlawful Western restrictions and to those who has been able to reach an ‘amicable agreement’ with Washington,” he added.

Moscow is confident that Iran’s influence in the regional affairs would help stabilize the nearby volatile regions, Lavrov noted.

“Tehran’s fully-fledged participation in regional affairs will serve the tasks of ensuring security in the Gulf and neighboring regions.

“Stabilization in the vast region of the Middle East and North Africa will bring countries of that region back to normal life, will remove obstacles on the path of resuming full-scale foreign economic exchanges, which is in the interests of expanding our mutually-beneficial trade-and-economic cooperation with them and bigger presence of Russian companies on those promising markets,” he explained.

Lavrov spoke in support of the “reasonable balance of interests and joint actions to solve common problems,” adding that such an approach should be used in the energy sector as well. “In the current conditions, energy producers and consumers should pool efforts to flatten out excessive volatility of prices and ensure normal functioning of markets.”

He stressed that Russia has been putting a great deal of diplomatic effort into ironing out the political framework agreement for the nuclear deal with Iran in Lausanne, Switzerland.

“Russian diplomacy made a significant contribution to the achievement of the Lausanne framework agreement on the settlement of issues related to the Iranian nuclear program.”

Iran and the P5+1 powers (China, France, Russia, UK, US and Germany) have agreed on a preliminary deal in the Swiss city of Lausanne earlier in April. Under the framework, Iran will not pursue new enrichment facilities, or heavy water reactors, for 15 years. It will also downsize its stockpile of enriched uranium and follow enhanced transparency procedures.

Meanwhile, the US and the EU pledged to begin lifting all the nuclear-related sanctions against Iran.

Another round of talks is scheduled to begin on April 24. It aims to turn the framework agreement into a final deal. One of the key issues on the table will be the timetable for the lifting of sanctions. A final agreement must be reached by June 30, 2015.