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Putin-Biden talks: Russia says it expects no ‘breakthrough’

Moscow: Russia is not expecting any major breakthrough when President Vladimir Putin and US counterpart Joe Biden hold their first summit this month, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said.

“We are not under any illusions and we are not trying to create the impression that there will be any breakthrough, any historic fateful decisions,” Lavrov told a press conference in Moscow ahead of the June 16 talks in Geneva.

“But the very fact of top-level talks between the two leading nuclear powers is of course important,” he said, after an online meeting of officials from the BRICS alliance of major emerging countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa).

The face-to-face meeting between the two leaders comes amid levels of tension not seen for years, and both countries have downplayed expectations of any significant results.

Since taking office, Biden has imposed new sanctions against Moscow over what US authorities say was the Russian role in the massive SolarWinds cyberattack and meddling in 2020 presidential election.

Washington has also harshly criticized Moscow for the near-death poisoning and subsequent imprisonment of Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny.

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US attempts to scuttle Iran nuclear deal will fail: Russian FM

Moscow: The US attempts to force Iran nuclear deal participants to renounce their obligations and to punish Tehran by illegitimate initiatives, including the arms embargo, have no prospects from the point of view of international law, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said.

“We will use all the opportunities this international law provides to make sure that justice is served,” Lavrov said during a news conference following talks with his Iranian counterpart Mohammad Javad Zarif, Xinhua news agency reported.

The Iran nuclear deal, or the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), was reached in 2015 between Iran and the P5+1, which is the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council — the United States, Britain, Russia, France, China, plus Germany — plus the European Union.

Tehran agreed to roll back parts of its nuclear weapons program in exchange for decreased economic sanctions.

In May 2018, the United States announced a unilateral withdrawal from the deal and the restoration of stringent sanctions against the Islamic republic.

In reaction to the U.S. withdrawal from the landmark deal, and in response to Europe’s sluggishness in facilitating Iran’s banking transactions and oil exports, Iran has been gradually moving away from its nuclear commitments since May 2019.

Lavrov said that Russia will do everything so that no one can destroy the agreements that are enshrined in the JCPOA.

“But Washington does not have any right to punish Iran by speculating on the authority of the UN Security Council and essentially manipulating the Security Council, and to a certain extent the UN secretariat,” Lavrov said.

He said he could not vouch for the position of other members of the JCPOA, above all its European members, which are under tremendous pressure from the United States.

But those who would like to support the United States or try to partially help Washington have no legal arguments, which is obvious to all, Lavrov said.

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