Briefing by Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Maria Zakharova (Excerpts)

July 17, 2019


Possible impact of anti-Iranian sanctions on the construction of Bushehr nuclear power plant Unit 2 and reconstruction of the Arak reactor

The construction of the Bushehr Nuclear Power Plant is our flagship project in Iran. Its first unit is operating nonstop generating the country’s electricity. The second unit is being constructed according to plan.

Of course, doing business in Iran is sometimes being hampered by the illegitimate US sanctions against that country. Nevertheless, we are not sitting idle; we are adapting to the situation and are expanding a range of measures jointly with our Iranian partners to protect all our trade and economic ties that have substantial prospects. Although we understand that many are trying to impede this.

As for the reconstruction of the Arak reactor, we are naturally keeping a watchful eye on this matter. It was one of the central topics at the meeting of the parties to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) on resolving the situation concerning the Iranian nuclear programme held in Vienna on June 28. Let me remind you that under the JCPOA all parties assumed certain obligations. Russia undertook to restructure the former Iranian uranium enrichment plant in Fordo while China and the UK were ready to redesign the Arak heavy water reactor.

We believe that all JCPOA parties should act as a collective guarantor of the agreed projects that are an integral part to the arrangements, and display readiness to jointly struggle for their further implementation, notwithstanding unlawful unilateral steps taken by the United States.


Question: According to some media, given the good relations between Russia and the Islamic Republic of Iran, the US could ask Moscow to be a mediator in settling the situation with Tehran. How would Russia react to such a possibility?

Maria Zakharova: I have commented repeatedly and in detail on this question during my previous briefings. First of all, we believe that there is no need to create tensions in the region. Hostile political rhetoric towards a sovereign state, threats to use force, and interference in its domestic affairs are unacceptable. Second, the countries should resolve their disputes at the negotiations table using diplomatic means with the involvement of experts. Third, as I said, there have been examples of successful interaction between Washington and Tehran. In particular, the development of the JCPOA took several years; it was not an easy process but quite constructive. The result was also obvious. Accordingly, in the present case, the US and Iran have all the necessary means to deal with their issues. Washington should simply abstain from provocations, incitement and aggressive statements. All issues must be dealt with using relevant diplomatic means.