US Exit from Iran Deal Could Trigger Instability: Putin
TEHRAN (Tasnim) – Russian President Vladimir Putin warned Friday that the US exit from the 2015 nuclear deal between Tehran and world powers could trigger dangerous instability.
“We can’t sort things out with North Korea. Do we want another problem on the same scale?” Putin asked while addressing a session of the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF) with his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron on Friday, CBS News reported.
The Russian leader said the US withdrawal from the agreement came even as the international nuclear watchdog confirmed that Tehran was fulfilling its obligations. “What should it be punished for, then?” Putin asked.
“If international agreements are revised every four years it would offer zero horizon for planning,” Putin said. “It will create the atmosphere of nervousness and lack of trust.”
In a speech from the White House on May 8, US President Donald Trump accused Iran of sponsoring terrorism and seeking nukes before announcing the US withdrawal from the 2015 agreement between Iran and the Group 5+1 (Russia, China, the US, Britain, France and Germany).
Following the controversial decision, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said Iran weighs plans to remain in the agreement with the other five parties, provided that they ensure full benefits for Iran.
While criticizing the US policy on Iran at the St. Petersburg forum, Putin had some warm words for Trump and held out hope for holding a summit with him.
“We certainly can’t be happy with the level and nature of Russia-US relations,” Putin said. “We are ready for dialogue. It long has become overdue.”
He also suggested that Trump might have won a few points domestically by exiting the Iran deal. “He fulfilled his campaign promises and in that sense he might have won in terms of domestic politics,” Putin said.
The Russian leader also engaged in a tongue-in-cheek exchange with French President Emmanuel Macron, saying with a smile that Russia could help protect Europe if its rift with the US widens over Iran.
“Don’t you worry, we will help ensure your security,” Putin said. Macron responded on a serious note that France and its allies could stand for themselves.
In his speech at the forum and during talks with Putin on Thursday, Macron called for closer ties between France and Russia despite their differences.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe also spoke at the forum and called for closer co-operation with Russia.
The presence of Macron and Abe and their statements in favor of co-operation with Moscow were important for Putin, indicating that the US-led efforts to isolate Russia face increasing obstacles.
The US and its allies have hit Russia with several waves of sanctions that badly hurt its economy.
Putin sharply criticized the sanctions, saying they signal “not just erosion but the dismantling of a system of multilateral co-operation that took decades to build.”
In a later meeting with top editors of international news agencies, Putin said he would observe constitutional term limits that would prevent him from running for a new term in 2024. However, some observers have suggested he might seek to have the constitution changed.
On tensions with Britain over allegations that Russia was behind the March poisoning of a Russian former spy in Britain, Putin said there should “either be a joint, full-value, objective investigation or simply stop talking about this subject because it doesn’t lead to anything except worsening relations.”
Russia has repeatedly demanded that Britain let it take part in investigating the case.