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Despite FM's warm reception in Moscow, Russia can’t do much to save JCPOA

Tehran's disappointment with the Europeans leaves Russia as perhaps the only leverage Iran still has with the West on the nuclear deal, but there's little Moscow can do to help at this point.

Russian President Vladimir Putin convened a briefing session with the Russian Security Council May 9 over the escalating situation in the Middle East. Amid the US military buildup around Iran, the country’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif paid a visit to Moscow shortly after Tehran announced its decision to withdraw from some of its commitments under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). This trip inspired some déjà vu as one year ago, Zarif traveled to the negotiating member countries to receive assurances of their commitment.

Over the course of the year, Iran has been cautiously warning its partners, now four of the permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany, that if Tehran is not able to benefit from the deal, it will consider withdrawing as well. Over the course of the year things have only changed for the worse in Iran, with the population suffering psychologically and economically in the growing hopelessness of the diplomatic impasse. This time, disenchanted with the inability of the EU to provide suitable mechanisms to bypass the American sanctions, Moscow is possibly seen as one of a few available parties left to work with.

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