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Top Russian diplomat brags about new Iran nuclear deal and suggests US taken to cleaners by China, Russia, and Iran

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Thomas Kronsteiner/Getty Images

Russian envoy Mikhail Ulyanov celebrated the forthcoming new Iran nuclear deal in a recent interview, essentially saying the United States was taken to the cleaners by Iran, China, and Russia.

What is the background?

The Iran nuclear deal, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, was originally negotiated under the Obama administration. But then-President Donald Trump withdrew the U.S. from the controversial deal in May 2018.

President Joe Biden, during his campaign and after his election, expressed willingness to re-enter the JCPOA and lift sanctions on Iran that were imposed by the Trump administration.

Diplomats officially returned to negotiation last year in hopes of reviving the plan.

What did Ulyanov say?

Ulyanov, the top Russian diplomat working on JCPOA negotiations, boasted in a recent interview that Iran received more in the forthcoming deal than even he expected.

"Iranian clerics are fighting for Iranian nuclear national interests like lions," Ulyanov said. "Indeed, I’m very serious. They fight for every comma, every word, and, as a rule, quite successfully. I must recognize that."

"I am absolutely sincere in this regard. Iran got much more than it could expect — much more," he added. "Realistically speaking, Iran got more than frankly I expected, others expected. This is a matter of fact."

Perhaps unsurprisingly, Ulyanov said that Beijing and Moscow worked together to achieve their goals within the JCPOA.

"Our Chinese friends were also very efficient and useful as co-negotiators," Ulyanov said. "We could rely on each other on many, many points. And on many, many points of joint differences we succeeded. I can recollect dozens of such cases, when on rather serious, significant questions, we managed together to get positive results close to what we wanted to achieve."

The totality of concessions made by the U.S. and western allied powers will not become clear until the deal is finalized.

However, the Jerusalem Post reported:

Among the concessions to Iran that Israel has been concerned about are allowing Iran to keep its advanced centrifuges even when they are out of use, and lifting the designation of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps as a terrorist organization by the US, as well as rescinding all sanctions placed by the previous US administration, including those put in place due to terrorism and human rights violations.

Meanwhile, Ali Shamkhani, the secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council, corroborated on Monday that a finalized deal is nearing completion as long as the Biden administration makes the concessions that Tehran demands, the Washington Free Beacon reported.

What is the US saying?

State Department deputy spokeswoman Jalina Porter said last week that "significant progress" had been made and a final deal is imminent.

"We are close to a possible deal, but a number of difficult issues still remain unsolved," she said. "We will not have a deal unless we resolve quickly the remaining issues. If Iran shows seriousness, we can and should reach an understanding of mutual return to full implementation of the JCPOA within days."

In a nod to Russia, Secretary of State Antony Blinken admitted Sunday that sanctions imposed by Washington on Moscow because of Russia's invasion of Ukraine will be totally disconnected from the Iran nuclear deal.

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