The Russian representative described Iran and Russia as “natural allies.”
Russia’s top representative at ongoing nuclear negotiations in Vienna said Iran already secured more concessions than Moscow and other powers expected.
In an interview published Sunday by Iran’s official news agency IRNA, Mikhail Ulyanov said, “Iran got much more than it could expect. … Realistically speaking, Iran got more than frankly, I expected, others expected.”
He added that “Iranian colleagues are fighting for Iranian national interests like lions,” as well as “every comma, every word.”
The parties to the talks — which also include the United Kingdom, France, Germany, and China — are in disarray, Ulyanov said.
“There was no united front against Iran,” he explained, implying that both Russia and China were inclined toward the Iranian position. The United States has participated in the talks indirectly, having withdrawn from the original agreement in 2018.
“To my surprise, I find many speculations in Iranian mass media and social networks, claiming that Russia and I personally are extremely hostile to Iran and the nuclear deal,” Ulyanov continued. “It is nonsense and even insulting because it is not fair.”
“Iran is not an alien for us,” he asserted. “It is a neighbor with whom we want to develop an active trade and economic relations.”
He described Russia and Iran as “natural allies.”
Ulyanov’s comments came as the massive international sanctions levied against Russia since its invasion of Ukraine began to affect the Vienna talks, with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov calling them a “problem.”
“It would have all been fine, but that avalanche of aggressive sanctions that have erupted from the West — and which I understand has not yet stopped — demand additional understanding by lawyers above all,” Lavrov said on Saturday.
“We have asked for a written guarantee … that the current process triggered by the United States does not in any way damage our right to free and full trade, economic and investment cooperation and military-technical cooperation with the Islamic Republic,” he added.
A senior Iranian official responded by describing the demand as “not constructive.”