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EghtesadOnline: Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif was to head for Beijing on Monday, straight after meetings with top Russian diplomats in Moscow to discuss the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, regional affairs and bilateral ties.

Zarif met with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on Monday to discuss regional and international issues of mutual interest, as well as the state of Iran nuclear deal, before leaving for Beijing for another working visit with a similar agenda, the Foreign Ministry's website reported.

In a statement before the meeting, the Russian Foreign Ministry said Lavrov would meet with Zarif in Moscow to discuss Russian-Iranian cooperation, including in trade, economic and energy spheres, with focus on bilateral projects, according to Financial Tribune.

“The parties will focus on international affairs, including the situation around the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action on the Iranian nuclear program, the Syrian peace process, Persian Gulf developments and other regional matters,” it added.

Zarif’s back-to-back meetings with top Russian and Chinese diplomats come ahead of a likely trip to New York to attend a United Nations gathering marking the 75th anniversary of its foundation. Participants will review the UN Charter.

The top diplomat’s talks with senior officials of the parties to the 2015 nuclear deal are held against a backdrop of Iran's gradual retreat from an accord no longer beneficial for the country. 

Since May, Iran has been scaling back its commitments to the deal to counter the US measure to unilaterally pull out of JCPOA and impose sweeping sanctions on Tehran. 

Iran is nearing the date of its fifth step in reducing compliance to the agreement to restore balance to its one-sided fulfillment of obligations.

European countries, much to be blamed for inaction, have been urging Iran to return to full compliance, while Iranian officials argue that Europe must first meet its commitment to guarantee the country's interests. 

While China and Russia see Iran's countermeasures as inevitable due to the US breach of trust, European powers have made threats to trigger the deal’s dispute resolution mechanism that could culminate in the United Nations Security Council with a so-called snapback of global sanctions on Tehran. 

Despite European efforts to keep the deal alive by launching a financial mechanism called Instrument in Support of Trade Exchanges, the EU has failed to effectively sustain trade with Iran. 

Iran's step-by-step retreat is in compliance with the JCPOA article that allows one party to reduce its commitments when another party is deemed out of compliance. 


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