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Iran Foreign Minister Goes to Moscow, Advancing Tectonic Shift in Southwest Asia

March 29, 2023, 2022 (EIRNS)—Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian held an extensive meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in Moscow today, on several international and regional issues. This occurred in the productive environment of a great shift, punctuated by the March 10 meeting in Beijing, brokered by Chinese President Xi Jinping, in which Iran and Saudi Arabia restored diplomatic relations.

One matter that Amirabdollahian and Lavrov discussed was the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), in which the International Atomic Energy Agency would monitor Iran’s nuclear program in exchange, among other things, for sanctions relief. In 2018, then U.S. President Donald Trump withdrew the United States from the agreement.

“The window of dialogue is still open and one of the topics of the conversation with Mr. Lavrov is the JCPOA and the return of parties to their commitments,” Amirabdollahian said March 28 upon landing in Moscow.

After the meeting, Lavrov said, “We talked about the situation around the JCPOA on the Iranian nuclear program. We have a common understanding that there is no alternative to this international agreement, which was written down in the unanimously adopted UN Security Council Resolution 2231. We are in favor of the early resumption of the full implementation of this resolution and oppose actions that prevent this,” Sputnik International quoted him as saying.

Also discussed was U.S. sanctions. At a press conference upon his arrival at the Moscow airport, Amirabdollahian said that U.S. sanctions were a “failed policy.” He said, “We believe that sanction is an economic terrorist instrument against the nations, but the Islamic Republic has managed the situation and has made the most of the opportunity of sanctions for progress in our country.” But he added, “The [U.S.] policy of sanctions is inefficient, incorrect and a terrorist war against the nation,” Tasnim quoted him as stating.

Lavrov and Amirabdollahian further discussed economic agreements; Iran-Russia trade which has more than doubled in the last three years; working on finalizing agreement on a comprehensive partnership between Iran and Russia; and Amirabdollahian focused on the International North-South Transport Corridor, a 7,200 km railroad, highway, and sea transport corridor, extending from Russia to India, and involving Iran, Azerbaijan, Pakistan, Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, that can reduce shipment costs “by $2,500 per 15 tons of cargo,” and connect nations economically and culturally.

Meantime, in Riyadh, the Saudi Council of Ministers on March 28, approved a memorandum granting the Kingdom the status of a dialogue partner in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), reported the official Saudi Press Agency. King Salman bin Abdulaziz al Saud presided over the meeting.

On March 21, Sputnik Brazil published an interview with Iranian Economic Minister Ehsan Khandouzi (in Portugese) on why Tehran considers cooperation with the SCO and BRICS so important. Khandouzi told Sputnik, “Regional agreements, especially with important regional partners like the SCO and BRICS—that's what the world economy will promote on the shoulders of these economic giants in the coming decades.” On Sept. 15, 2022, attending the SCO summit in Samarkand as an observer state, Tehran signed a document confirming its intention to become a full member.

In parallel, Al-Monitor reported that the Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan and Amirabdollahian spoke by phone on March 26 about relations between the two nations, their second discussion in four days. They agreed they would meet sometime during this year’s holy month of Ramadan—March 22-April 21.

With China and Russia serving as anchors, the peace process and economic development are shaping Southwest Asia.

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