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Russia Does Not Support Trump Push to Alter Iran Nuclear Deal


RusRussian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov speaks during his annual roundup news conference summing up his ministry's work in 2017 in Moscow, Jan. 15, 2018.sia Politics

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Monday that Russia does not support U.S. President Donald Trump's calls to renegotiate the international agreement limiting Iran's nuclear program.

Trump said Friday he was waiving for the last time sanctions the U.S. agreed to lift under the 2015 deal, and that Congress and European partners had 120 days to come up with ways to fix what he called "disastrous flaws" in the agreement.

Lavrov said Monday if Trump does go through with his threat to withdraw from the deal if no changes are made there would be unthinkable consequences with Iran sure to consider itself no longer bound by the agreement's requirements.

The United States, Russia, Britain, China, France and Germany partnered in long, difficult negotiations with Iran in order to make sure the Iranian nuclear program is not being used to develop nuclear weapons. Iran has insisted its nuclear work was solely peaceful, and in exchange for limiting its uranium enrichment, among other concessions, it won relief from economic sanctions that badly hurt its economy.

Lavrov also cautioned against altering the agreement in light of the current international focus on North Korea and its tests of nuclear material and ballistic missiles, questioning what incentive North Korean leaders would have to agree to a similar deal if promised sanctions relief ends up not being reality.

Trump has criticized the Iran deal as giving up too much, while leaving too much of Iran's nuclear program in place. The United States has also said Iran's ballistic missile tests go against the spirit of the agreement.

Under the text of the nuclear deal, ballistic missile tests are not expressly prohibited. But the document was endorsed by the U.N. Security Council in a resolution that further says Iran is "called upon" not to undertake any ballistic missile related activity.

Trump wants a new version of the nuclear deal to cover the ballistic missile tests.

Iran insists it has the right to conduct its missile program and has accused the United States of working to undermine the nuclear deal.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said in August the U.S. is not a "good partner."

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