Author: Mythili Sampathkumar
Posted on: The Independent | January 15th, 2018
Mr Lavrov says the US threats to Iran hurt any chance of diplomacy with North Korea
Russia’s foreign minister said that US President Donald Trump has “further destabilised” the world.
Sergey Lavrov opened his annual news conference in Moscow with the criticism of the US’ constant “threats” towards North Korea and Iran, but stopped short of naming Mr Trump.
The US is “quite plainly says that the military confrontation [with Pyonyang] is inevitable, however, everyone understands the catastrophic consequences of such recklessness,» Mr Lavrov said, apparently referring to Mr Trump’s repeated tweets and comments berating leader Kim Jong-un.
The President has called Mr Kim “Rocket Man” and threatened to rain down “fire and fury” on the isolated nation in light of its continued development of nuclear weapons.
Mr Lavrov also said US military exercises in the region «provoked a new escalation of tensions.”
However, the US and South Korea came to an agreement to suspend any exercises in the lead up to and during the Winter Olympics taking place next month in Pyeongchang, South Korea.
The Foreign Minister may have been alluding to Mr Trump’s October 2017 tweet in which he wrote that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson should stop “wasting his time trying to negotiate with Little Rocket Man… Save your energy Rex, we’ll do what has to be done.”
Later that same month, the Mr Trump decided not to re-certify the historic deal, signed by Iran and six world powers – a signature foreign policy achievement by predecessor President Barack Obama.
Tehran had pledged to rein in its nuclear program in return for some easing of those economic restrictions imposed on it by the US, the United Nations, and European Union.
It opened the door for harsher economic sanctions to be placed on the country, the mitigation of which was a key inducement for Iran to comply with the deal.
Mr Lavrov said Mr Trump’s decision could undermine any possible deal with a nuclear North Korea.
Late last week, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin also hinted that there would be new sanctions imposed on Iranians and businesses.
«If this agreement is being taken aside and Iran is being told — you stay within the frame of agreements but we will return the sanctions — well, put yourself in place North Korea’s place. They are being promised that sanctions will be lifted if they say no to their nuclear program, what if they do it but sanctions are still there?,» Mr Lavrov commented.
Russia and the US have had strained relations in the last year or so, as the Kremlin has repeatedly denied any interference with the 2016 US election.
Congress and the FBI are still investigating whether there was any collusion between Trump campaign team members and Russian officials.
Former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn and a former campaign aide George Papadopoulos have pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about their meetings with officials, including former Russian Ambassador to the US Sergey Kislyak.
The US has also issued new, tighter sanctions against Russian entities and closed a few of its diplomatic installations in the US. Moscow retaliated by forcing the US to cut back American diplomatic staff.