Kremlin says it disagrees with Trump’s assessment of Iran
Andrew Osborn, Maria Tsvetkova, Reuters, Feb 6 2017
MOSCOW – The Kremlin said on Monday it did not agree with Pres Trump’s assessment of Iran as “the #1 terrorist state” and a Russian diplomat said any Pindo attempt to reopen an Iran nuclear deal would inflame tensions in the Middle East. Trump and Putin, his Russian counterpart, have made clear they want to try to mend Pindo-Russia ties, which have slid to a post-Cold War low in recent years. But starkly different approaches to Iran, as set out by a raft of top Russian officials on Monday, could complicate any rapprochement. Their comments also suggest that a policy idea Trump and his aides are reported to be considering, to try to drive a wedge between Moscow and Tehran, may be a non-starter. Trump told Fox News in an interview aired at the weekend that Iran had “total disregard” for Pindostan and labeled Tehran “the number one terrorist state”, complaining it was sending arms and weapons “all over the world.” He spoke after his administration put the Islamic Republic “on notice” following an Iranian ballistic missile test, and imposed new economic sanctions on Friday. Two sources told Reuters last week the Trump administration was now exploring how to renegotiate key terms of the 2015 P5+1 accord with Tehran. But several top officials in Russia signaled on Monday that they fundamentally disagreed with Trump’s approach to Tehran. When asked about Trump’s description of Iran as a “terrorist state,” Kremlin spox Dmitry Peskov told reporters that Moscow saw things very differently. He said:
Russia has friendly partner-like relations with Iran, we cooperate on a wide range of issues, value our trade ties, and hope to develop them further. It’s no secret for anyone that Moscow and Washington hold diametrically opposed views on many international issues, though that should not hinder a rapprochement.
Russia’s ambassador to Iran, Levan Djagaryan, said Moscow was concerned by escalating rhetoric between Pindostan and Iran, while Sergei Ryabkov, Russia’s deputy foreign minister, said Faschingstein’s decision to impose new sanctions on Iran was a source of regret. Ryabkov, in a separate interview with the Moscow-based Security Index Journal published on Monday, also urged Faschingstein not to try to reopen the Iran nuclear deal, saying to do so would risk inflaming the Middle East. He said:
Don’t try to fix what isn’t broken! It would be an undesirable and negative turn of events, that would only serve to pour oil on the flames in the Middle East!
Trump has spoken of the possibility of cooperating with Russia to fight Daesh. In comments that further underlined how far apart Moscow and Faschingstein are over Iran, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told reporters on Monday he thought Iran should be part of an international coalition to fight Daesh.