Press Briefing by Chargé d'Affaires of the Russian Federation Dmitry Polyanskiy on 29 July 2021
Dmitry Polyanskiy: I welcome everybody here. We start at nine, you are early birds.
As I had done several previous times, I want to start with a tweet of the month and a quote of the month. So for the tweet of the month, I chose a couple of tweets which were posted by Mr. Alan MacLeod, senior staff writer for Mint Press News. But it was not only him who posted these things. It's about protests in Cuba. As you know, it was in the focus of attention. When I came here I received questions whether we want to discuss it in the Security Council. Now, everybody is a little bit less emotional about this, but when there was an apex of this situation, a lot of mainstream media published photos of crowds protesting against the government in Havana.
Several of my colleagues, including Mr. MacLeod, pointed out that the pictures that were displayed by a lot of these media outlets were fake. So, for example, you see it here [shows a picture]. It is a picture posted by “The Financial Times”, but it is not the only newspaper that posted “anti-government protesters in Havana on Sunday”. If you look at the slogans, you will clearly see that those are not anti-government, but pro-government protests. They were much more crowded and numerous than the other ones. That is why mainstream media decided to post them.
There are other examples of such double standards. What I have here is a post by “Fox News”. Some other news outlets also used this video. Again, it is a coverage of an allegedly anti-government mass protests. Slogans are strangely blurred, because they were pro-government, not anti-government.
Colleagues, I think that there are no journalists like this in the room: we are all not making fake news, we are spreading good news, which I encourage you to do. But of course, such manipulations are very regrettable.
As for the quote of the month: this morning I was watching “Euronews” covering a visit of a self-proclaimed leader of the Belarus opposition, Ms. Tsikhanouskaya, to the United States. I think it is going on. As you know, yesterday she had a meeting with President Biden which was highly advertised. There were a lot of comments about this. Ms. Tsikhanouskaya said that the Belarus opposition had the support of President Biden. I want to give you one quote. It's from the Russian page of “Euronews”, I don't know whether it is on the English page as well. Speaking about the support of the American government, she said: “In case that some country make use of the weakness of the regime, the United States will be on our side”. This is a quote of Ms. Tsikhanouskaya.
Let's try to imagine this situation anywhere else: for example, a leader of some American movement comes to Russia and says: “If some country decides to explore the weakness of the American system, Russia will be on our side”. Can you imagine the reaction? I don't think I need to comment. Furthermore, this is a clear appeal to a regime change, interference into internal affairs of a sovereign state. I don't know who is the adviser to Ms. Tsikhanouskaya, but I think she made it absolutely clear for whom she works.
As for our press conference, I will make a very short introduction. I will draw your attention to a couple of highlights of our work this month. One of them is the adoption of the cross-border mechanism resolution on Syria. This was a very good and outstanding result. It was a result of Russia-US understanding and cooperation. We hope that it will continue like this. I would also like to underline that despite the fact that a lot of media started to comment that this was an automatic 12-months prolongation of the cross-border mechanism, this was not the case. It is clearly said in the resolution that it is subject to a substantial report by the Secretary-General to be prolonged for another half a year. There are a lot of conditions in this text.
If you compare the previous rollover resolution and the current one, you will see that it is very significantly beefed up with a lot of things that the Security Council and the international community are supposed to do in the run-up to this possible prolongation in six months. There is no automatism in this regard. We are looking forward to working with our partners to make it happen and to see a dramatic increase in cross-line deliveries and in the efforts to assist Syria’s reconstruction. How transparent and detailed the reports are going to be? It very much depends on the Secretary-General. There are concrete parameters of what it might look like.
The second highlight that I chose was our attempt to pass the draft resolution on a High Representative on Bosnia and Herzegovina. As you know, it failed, 13 countries abstained and the decision was not taken. We regret this very much. Now we have a kind of a legal limbo as we see it. According to our position, the new alleged High Representative has clearly no legal grounds to hold this post. We really regret this development. We tried to make it along the lines of the international law. Now we are in uncharted waters. We hope that there will be no significant degradation of the situation, but you never know.
In any case, the mechanism of High Representative seems to be absolutely out of time and out of order, absolutely anachronistic. It doesn't correspond to the realities in Bosnia and Herzegovina. We saw it one of these days when the current High Representative, Mr. Inzko, adopted a decision against the will of the BaH entities. This decision can potentially jeopardize the situation in this country.
I have also one question on Afghanistan: “Please explain any concerns that Russia may have regarding the dramatic resurgence of the Taliban in Afghanistan”.
“Any concerns” is a very nice polite formula. Everybody has a lot of concerns, not “any concerns”. We are very much worried by the situation in Afghanistan. We see that it is changing drastically with the withdrawal of the American and NATO troops. We have close contact with our American colleagues. We share a lot of goals in Afghanistan. We cooperate on many issues. We understand that this cooperation will continue regardless of the fact why they have decided to withdraw. We are very much worried by implications that potential instability in Afghanistan may have for Central Asia, for our neighbors. It directly affects Russia, because Russia is bound by its commitments within the framework of the CSTO.
We maintain contacts with all Afghan parties – the Government and the Taliban. The Taliban recently visited Moscow as you might know. They gave certain reassurances to us, they said they did not plan any expansion, any provocations to neighboring countries. By the way, there are different forecasts on how the situation might look like in the nearest days and months. Some people are very alarmist and pessimistic saying that it will be a total control of Taliban. We think that, for the time being, this is a very unlikely scenario. We hope that there will be a process of national dialogue which will lead to the establishment of a government of national accord. And we are very eager to contribute to this scenario in different formats, especially in the format of “extended troika”, which I think will meet very soon in Doha.
Q: Two quick follow-ups to your opening comments and then I have a question. My quick follow-ups are on Cuba. Basically are you saying that the anti-government protests were smaller than was reported by the media or that they didn't really take place? And on Bosnia, is Russia going to try to block the new High Representative from speaking to the Security Council? And my question is about two of the big issues on the Council agenda, Syria and Yemen. Geir Pedersen has called for or is really seriously looking into the holding of some kind of a major conference of key international players to try and move the political process forward. Is this something Russia supports? Have you heard any more details? And on Yemen, with Martin Griffiths gone, there still seems to be a tremendous amount of unrest fighting. And what do you see happening in the next month or two?
A: On Cuba, I'm not claiming that the protests didn't happen, and if they were small or not. I simply don't know. But I assume that if they had been larger then the media outlets would not have had to cheat and try to disguise pro-government protests as anti-government protests. That's my humble assumption. And in any case, it's an internal matter of Cuba. There are a lot of countries where there are protests for different reasons, for COVID-related measures, for governmental measures. It's the right of people to protest in any country, including Cuba. I don't like it when these scenarios are used to justify internal interference and try to bring the situation in this or that country to the agenda of the Security Council. I simply don't have reasons for this.
There are very few non-problematic countries in the world. We all have problems and our ways to solve them. We need to respect sovereignty and territorial integrity of each and every state. That's the basis of our work.
On Bosnia and Herzegovina and trying to block a High Representative from coming to the Security Council. Do you assume that we will physically block him, shut the door in front of him? Well, we hope that there will be enough common sense with our Western partners because they clearly understand the situation. They clearly realize the mess that the situation in BaH is about to turn into as a result of their steps. It's still a long way to go before he makes his appearance or tries to make his appearance.
At least I can tell you that in our eyes, the new High Representative is not legitimate. We do not acknowledge the fact that he took this position within the lines of international law. We think that it should happen through the Security Council. Again, we presented the resolution to make it legal. Our partners declined this resolution. It means that now it is illegal and that's the only way you can interpret the situation. Again, we will see what kind of implications it might have. The situation there on the ground develops quite rapidly, maybe we will have better knowledge of what's happening in the coming months or weeks, we'll see.
Now Syria. As you know, it's not that we want to monopolize some kind of negotiation track on Syria. Since the very beginning, we have been advocating for dialogue, for finding a solution. But the fact is that there are certain parties, certain states that still don't want to engage with the current Syrian government, which is legitimate and recognized by the whole world. I don't know what kind of magic solution Mr. Pederson has to accommodate these concerns and to bring all the parties, including the government, to the negotiation table. Let's see.
G.Pedersen is a very talented and experienced diplomat. We respect him very much. But so far, we think that the only working format is the Constitutional Committee, which is taking place in Geneva. We hope that there will be another meeting of the Committee. In the Astana format, we try to assist as much as we can to the settlement in Syria and to the launching and speeding up the work of the Constitutional Committee. I know that other countries are making efforts to contribute to Syrian settlement. If these efforts are positive and proceed from the understanding and respect for the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Syria, I think they can be only welcome. But the devil is in the details. So let's see what will come out of this.
As for Yemen, I think I say it at every press conference that I don't have a crystal ball. So I don't have a crystal ball. Nobody knows what will happen. We think that there are some positive trends and some negative trends. Let's see which one prevails. We expect quite soon the assignment of the new SRSG. We think that it is in the interest of everybody. Let's wait a little bit, because the process is under way. Hopefully, it will result in some name soon and we will be most pleased to interact with him or her in the Security Council and elsewhere.
Q: It's been almost six months now since the military took over in Myanmar. COVID-19 is surging. There's no sign of implementing the plan that was decided by ASEAN. No representative chosen for ASEAN. Is it time for the Security Council to do more for Myanmar?
A: Myanmar is a very complex issue. You can't view the situation in this country detached from the context of persisting attempts at foreign interference into the situation. Franky, I don't know what's really happening in Myanmar because it is all very conflicting. Of course, those people who claim to be Myanmar’s opposition try to show the picture of mass protests, mass killings, and repressions. I don't know if it's true or not, I simply don't have any verified sources to check it other than the mass media that I showed you. But given what they show on Cuba, I would very much doubt to have any trust in what they're showing. This is wishful thinking.
In any case, situation in Myanmar is very difficult. We are in favor of any humanitarian assistance to this country within the scope and parameters that its authorities would accept, because this is the principles of rendering humanitarian assistance. We are in favor of dialogue. We think that regional structures, first and foremost ASEAN, are best placed to hold such dialogue. We see that there are divergences in positions among several key players around Myanmar, and this doesn't contribute very much to finding a solution. We feel that the dialogue is still possible, but we don't see any signs that the opposing forces are ready for such dialogue. So far they seem to be claiming that the only way out for Myanmar would be foreign military interference into its affairs and struggle with the military. That's the information that I got about their claims, more or less. Of course, this is not the scenario which is favorable for Myanmar.
So far, there is no dialogue. As soon as the opposition makes a decision to really sit at the table and listen to the concerns of the military, and as soon as the military does the same about the opposition, then we will have hope. I'm not sure if the interference of Security Council in whatever way will help the situation, because the first thing to explore would be the regional means to help the situation. And there is still a long way to go. I think we should not step in at this stage. We are against any drastic measures. We are against any provocations in this regard, including, for example, today's Arria-formula meeting on Myanmar, which I see as a clear provocation. These steps do not contribute to finding any solution on Myanmar. We will not participate in this meeting, to anticipate your question.
Q: If you're worried about military intervention, would an arms embargo then not be helpful?
A: In what way? I don't see the logic. What's the link between not having military intervention and having arms embargo? Has it helped anywhere in the world in the places, where there are arms embargo, in preventing military intervention from abroad? I don't know of such examples. Frankly speaking, this is a totally different tool from another toolbox.
Q: Thank you for this briefing. The situation in southern Syria is escalating, and, of course, Russia is maybe the only mediator and you have presence on the ground. How would you describe the situation in Daraa in southern Syria? And do you see that there is maybe a potential for a compromise in southern Syria, especially that we see now that Jordan and some other countries are more showing up in this to revive direct relations, especially economical relations with the government? How do you see the situation in southern Syria? Also in Tunisia, I would like to hear your assessment. What's your message to the Tunisians?
A: Well, your first question on southern Syria, I would distinguish and separate two parts of this: situation in southern Syria and the participation of Syria and regional cooperation. What do I think about the situation in southern Syria? I frankly do not know much about this. If you read the mainstream media that I just showed on the screen, of course, you will have very dramatic picture of what's happening. But I don't read most mainstream media for the reasons I explained, or at least I don't trust them because I don't have a reason to. The information that I get from other sources is not as alarming as you see.
As you know, Syria is not the calmest country in the world, including the areas that were retaken by the government. There are sleeping cells. There are people that are not happy about what's happening. Of course, as everywhere in the world, there are protests because people are not happy with the government policy, with COVID-19 measures. This is normal for any country, including Syria. Let's not steal this right from them. I would say that the protests and the economic situation in this country should be also viewed from the prospect of unilateral sanctions and coercive measures of some Western countries, which are in place and which make the situation in this country much worse. We repeatedly drew attention to this fact during Security Council meetings. It is very hypocritical to appeal to increase humanitarian assistance to Syrians on the one hand, while keeping unilateral sanctions and coercive measures on the other hand. These are two things that do not live together.
And that's why a lot of humanitarian actors complain that they feel the side effects of economic sanctions on their work. They can't make transactions. They are threatened with retaliatory measures if they engage with the Syrian government. Of course, it has a certain projection on the ground. So I wouldn't be surprised that the economic situation in Syria is not the one that the government might want to see. Again, this is a country in war which has to spend a lot of money on military targets. So I can imagine that at some point in some places there might be certain protests and certain people who are not very much happy with the way they live. But again, this happens everywhere. This happens in Russia. This happens in the United States, in your countries, in Tunisia. We will speak about this.
Again, I don't have any information from reliable sources that would lead me to the conclusion that the situation is dramatic over there. As for the regional cooperation, we think that we favor very much this scenario. We think that the neighbors of Syria are losing a lot from not having normal brotherly and neighborly ties with Syria, which they used to have. I know that a lot of countries are striving to re-establish such ties and this would be in the interests of the whole Arab nation, I would say. We encourage such efforts and we hope that other actors who are not happy with such a scenario will not interfere and will not put any kind of hurdles along this way, because this is beneficial for Syria, Syrians, and their neighbors. That's the only scenario that the Security Council should support.
As for Tunisia, it was my first posting as a diplomat, so I'm very emotional about this country. I still have a lot of friends there. And these friends are very worried. That's on a personal note. They say that since the Arab Spring the situation has deteriorated significantly. There may be different reasons behind it. Some people like it, some people don't. It was the choice of Tunisians. They were confident to make such a choice. We hope that they will sort out all the problems and come to a certain agreement among themselves to help put this country back on track to achieve a steady development.
We value our relations with Tunisia. We don't think that what's happening in this country should be a focus of exaggerated international attention. To anticipate your question, we don't think that there is any reason to raise it before the Security Council. Because no matter how dramatic it might be, this is the internal Tunisian situation and the Tunisians are dealing with it. We hope that they will find a solution that would be beneficial for Tunisia and for its neighbors. That's also my personal wish and my personal message to all my Tunisian friends.
Q: How do you see the future of Mali now that we have the UN, the Barkhane, which is changing its name (we don't know the name yet), then Takuba, and maybe some other people? How do you see the future of the country?
A: I would like to see the future of this country as a prosperous member of the international community, on the African continent. The turmoil in this country is a little bit prolonged. And we don't like this scenario. We think that this country has all the reasons and all the tools to return to normal development and to sort out all the problems. We know that not all the problems, to put it mildly, generated from the internal Mali situation. We know that there is extremely dangerous interference from abroad, including from Islamist elements. So Mali, as well as their neighbors, are at the forefront of struggling with Islamists and terrorists. That's why the international community is helping them, including through the Security Council.
We support all the efforts to help Mali. We work closely with our partners who have more experience in Mali and who have more traditions in interacting with Malian forces. We absolutely don't have any hidden agenda in Mali. We are totally on one page. We believe and hope that the better the situation in Libya and the closer Libya is to the light at the end of the tunnel, the better the situation in Mali will be.
As we know, the instability in the Sahel has increased dramatically after the Western intervention in Libya in 2011. And since then, these countries continuously experience a lot of problems. With the borders in the region, which are very porous and sometimes do not exist; with this very difficult ethnic composition of peoples living in this part of the continent, it is extremely difficult to maintain law and order. And, of course, the internal structures of a lot of countries are very fragile and we need to assist them not only politically, but economically as well. So it has not been a very successful year for Mali, let's acknowledge it. Let's hope that this country will turn this page and move forward to some better times. And we are very happy to accompany this country on this way.
Q: I have two questions. A senior Turkish adviser to Erdogan, said two days ago that “without the Syrian refugees our economy will collapse”. Do you have any comment on that? The second question is regarding the foreign fighters and the mercenaries. Erdogan said days ago to Anadolu News Agency that “our forces are in Libya, are in Syria and Azerbaijan to stay. Our country is not concerned by the international calls to withdraw the mercenaries and the foreign fighters”. Any comment on that?
A: The Turks are our neighbors, we have known them for many years and centuries. We know that they are quite emotional and easily driven by circumstances. And sometimes they say things that might be interpreted in a wrong way. For different reasons: for domestic consumption or because of some other considerations. But they are our good partners and good neighbors. We interact on many issues. We interact on Syria, Libya, Nagorno-Karabakh, settlement of many other conflicts for the sake of stability and peace in the world. There are many people in Turkey. And if we wanted to comment on what anyone says to the press, then we would spend all time doing only that, because a lot of people in Turkey say different things.
Turkey is our partner and the partner of other countries, and it has certain international obligations. It has also participated in a lot of fora, such as the recent Berlin Conference. The outcomes of Berlin Conference foresee certain steps to be taken by certain countries. I wouldn't single out Turkey. I would say it regards everybody who is involved in the settlement in Libya. That's why when we speak about the Turkish position we have in mind things that Turkey says internationally, first and foremost. Because for domestic reasons, for domestic audience, things can be said in a different way or form. They can be misinterpreted or exaggerated by media outlets for certain reasons. That's why we trust what is said to us internationally and the reassurances that are given to us internationally. So judging from this, we have every reason to believe that Turkey is on board for resolution of these issues and we're looking forward to cooperation on different tracks.
As for the Libyan situation, I think it was quite clearly mentioned that everybody was in favor of withdrawal of foreign fighters, foreign forces, everybody who is there in Libya. But the question is that it should be done in a balanced way in order not to upend the situation in this country, in order to not bring it back to the turmoil, I mean military turmoil, that it faced recently. That's why these steps should be taken with great caution and in a balanced way. Everybody understands this. We pointed out this position also during a meeting of the Security Council on Libya recently. It was quite clear. Nobody questions it. I think that's the approach that we all should take. And let's pay more attention to things that are being said internationally, to the international audience, during face-to-face consultations, etc.
Q: The Russian foreign ministry is stating that the US is seeking a color revolution and regime change in Cuba, which in fact we have been seeking for 70 years. But do you think that the risk is even greater at this point? Mexico is sending a tremendous amount of aid into Cuba. Is the United Nations sending humanitarian aid into Cuba?
On another subject, I read recently that Hashim Thaci, the former president of the KLA and Kosovo is being indicted for war crimes, the sale of human organs of Serbs. I asked the question yesterday whether the United Nations is involved in the court and the criminal proceedings. I was told the United Nations has nothing to do with it. So the question is, why was the United Nations so involved in the indictment of Serbian on charges of war crimes and not involved in the indictment of the president of the KLA in Kosovo?
A: I think this question is for the United Nations and not for me, because I'm not representing the UN Secretariat.
Russia’s position on Kosovo has been very clear from the very beginning. We seek a balanced approach to the prosecution on the war crimes, because on many occasions the Serbs were targeted, whereas the other ethnic groups were kind of treated in a different way. I don't have concrete examples right now, but they are numerous and abundant. It is not only us who have this criticism which undermines (to a large extent) the credibility of international efforts on former Yugoslavia.
I don't have the details on the issue that you mentioned – about the selling of human organs. But this information is resurfacing from time to time. I don't know how credible it is. We judge by facts rather than by allegations. But in any case it needs to be tackled in all seriousness.
Now on Cuba. I don't know whether you were at the beginning of my press conference or whether you came later, because I specifically started with Cuba.
For the sake of simplicity, I would say that different people have different DNAs, and so do different countries. Somehow, starting from late 19th century, the DNA of the United States has had this desire to help and teach everybody, mentor other countries as to how they should live and what they should do. Throughout the 20th century, a lot of countries have suffered from this, including Cuba.
But at the same time, the United States also knows how to draw conclusions from this. Remember Vietnam or Afghanistan. So the US understands that there are certain limits to what it can do. We hope they realize that if they do something with this DNA, it would be better for the international community and the whole world.
When I say DNA, I am joking, because I don't mean that it is something you can't change. I rather mean a set of principles and approaches. In particular, I mean this messianic approach towards the world, which needs to change. But as long as it prevails in the United States, I think we are not saved from recurrence of a situation like Cuba.
Neither are we safe from foreign self-imposed opposition leaders visiting the White House and receiving assurances of support and clear indications of plans of regime change. Unfortunately, we will not be deprived of these amusing things in the time to come. But does it really change something on the ground so very much? I don't think so. We know Cubans, we know how persistent and patriotic they are. They have covered a long way. You mentioned the Bay of Pigs, but also there were other occasions when Cubans were in a very difficult situation.
So, again, if you don't read the mass mainstream media, but rather try to find information from different sources, the picture is not as black-and-white as you might have it. I heard from my friends that the situation in Cuba has pacified and that there are certain initiatives from the government that are being considered right now. However I'm not a specialist on Cuba and it's very difficult for me to judge.
As for the regime change policy, we always make it very clear that we are totally against this practice. It is detrimental to the international community and the world. There are many long-standing repercussions of this policy across the globe.
So the moment it changes, the moment it is put off will go down in history. I think it will be for the sake of the whole international community and the United States itself in the first place.
Q: I have a follow-up on Syria’s cross-border resolution. You said in your introduction that there should be a dramatic increase in cross-line aid and in reconstruction efforts in Syria. My question here is, as you know, Western countries have said many times that they are not going to be involved in reconstruction efforts in Syria under conditions. Do you see a change in their policies? What do you exactly mean by reconstruction efforts and does this include also lifting sanctions or easing them? Are you not taking off the table the possibility of having to vote in six months about the renewal for the other six months period?
A: The answer to your last question is, I think, quite clear from what I have said. There is no automatic renewal. We'll see in half a year what we have on the table and then we'll decide how and if the cross-border mechanism will be prolonged. So there is no automatism at all. As for reconstruction efforts in Syria, as you know the resolution was adopted unanimously, all 15 members voted in favor and many of them praised this resolution.
If you read the text of the resolution, you will see, for example, the support for the recovery project in Syria, which was not there in the previous decisions of the Security Council. You will see there a lot of demands for transparency, for bringing a clearer picture of how the humanitarian aid is distributed through the cross-border mechanism, who the partners are, what the entire chain is like and so on and so forth. These are the things that should be clear in the new Secretary-General's reports that will follow shortly.
There is also a big passage on cross-line. I think it is self-explanatory that we all should also display utmost efforts to launch cross-line deliveries. You know our position. Cross-border mechanism is something that belongs with history because it was adopted at a point of time when the Syrian government was not in control of most of its territory. It had certain reasons. And it goes totally against the logic of humanitarian assistance. You know that the first and foremost principle of humanitarian assistance should be the consent of the receiving country.
You know that Syria has consistently opposed the cross-border mechanism from the very beginning. Now we had to agree to a certain prolongation as a year and two years before, because there is a certain part of Syrian territory which is so far not under the control of the Syrian Government. That was the only reason. Now our international partners should prove that they are sincere in their pledges to us, that they will work through cross-line deliveries as well for the initial period, that cross-line deliveries will supplement cross-border deliveries and they will work as a single package. Because if it's about helping people living there, then it doesn't matter very much how you deliver humanitarian aid – through cross-border or cross-line.
But if you have political reasoning, then yes, this does matter very much. We believe that political reasoning shouldn't be among the calculations behind our decisions on Syria in this regard. I advise you to study the new resolution very closely and compare it with the previous resolution, which was a technical one. You will understand what the changes are and you will see for yourself that they are very significant – there are structural and principal changes of international approach to the humanitarian assistance in Syria. So it implies that there should be changes, there should be visible changes by the time that we will have to take a decision in half a year on whether to prolong the cross-border mechanism or not.
Q: What do you feel about the stall in negotiations for the Iran nuclear talks in Vienna? The ayatollah in Iran said yesterday that the US is stubborn. Do you have any thoughts on where they're going? The 7th round is up in the air. And it's partly because JCPOA is a UN-codified treaty.
A: JCPOA is our child which we have certain responsibility for. That's why we're actively involved in the negotiations in Vienna, trying to bring the US and Iran back to compliance with the JCPOA. We shouldn't forget about the sequence of events. The fact that Iran deviated a little bit from its commitment is a direct consequence of what the United States did when it withdrew from JCPOA.
So we shouldn't forget about it. And the whole negotiation process, as we see it, is first and foremost about how the United States could return to this deal. A lot of things have been done or said after that by different administrations, especially by the Trump Administration. We can't forget about those things. Neither can Iranians forget about them. So it's not as simple as it may seem. There are a lot of things that the United States has to do, and it hasn't yet committed to a lot of things that it should do as far as I know.
There are also a lot of things that we all expect from Iran. And the Iranians know about this, but they see the sequence in the way I described it to you. We need to not forget who is to blame for this situation first and foremost.
Q: Is Russia trying to get them back on board?
A: Sure! Everybody is trying to do this. It's in our interests to arrive at a certain understanding which would revive the JCPOA and allow it to move forward. That's why the team from different countries is working 24/7 in Vienna. I know that the Iranians are present in Vienna diplomatically and they are also engaged in these activities.
So I would say that this is this is the scenario that we all want, but there are a lot of details. Some of them I don't even know. There are a lot of things yet to be discussed and to be decided. We encourage the United States and Iran to come to a certain agreement, come to terms on how to get back to compliance, and for the United States - how to return to the deal. But again, I need to reiterate that when we picture this situation, we don't have the right to forget about the sequence of events that led to this crisis in JCPOA that we’ve had since the withdrawal of the US Administration.