In 2018, the then-President, Donald Trump, withdrew the United States from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) agreement. Following this move, Russia has now stated that it no longer feels obligated to adhere to the U.N. Security Council’s restrictions on providing missile technology to its ally, Iran. These restrictions had an expiration date set for the following Wednesday, and Russia did not specify whether it would actively support Iran’s missile development.
Russia’s foreign ministry released a statement on Tuesday, asserting that products falling under the Missile Technology Control Regime no longer necessitate prior approval from the U.N. Security Council for supplies to and from Iran.
These restrictions had been established in Resolution 2231 of 2015, endorsing an agreement in which Britain, China, the European Union, France, Germany, Russia, and the U.S. lifted sanctions against Iran in exchange for Iran’s commitment to limit its nuclear program. However, the U.S.’s withdrawal in 2018 led to the reinstatement of unilateral U.S. sanctions, prompting Iran to intensify its nuclear activities, claiming they were for peaceful purposes.
As a result, the U.N. sanctions aimed at preventing Iran from developing long-range, nuclear-capable ballistic missiles were reinstated. Still, these sanctions were set to expire on the coming Wednesday.
The relationship between Russia and Iran has strengthened since Russia invaded Ukraine in February 2022 and its subsequent isolation by Western nations. Many of the one-way attack drones used by Russia in its attacks on Ukraine are believed to be manufactured in Iran.
After the U.N. sanctions expired, the European Union announced its intention to align with the United States in maintaining sanctions on Iran’s ballistic missile program. This decision was reportedly motivated by several factors, including Russia’s use of Iranian drones in Ukraine, concerns about potential missile transfers from Iran to Russia, and the goal of preventing Iran from benefiting from the nuclear deal it had violated after the U.S. withdrew.
Russia called on the European Union and the United States to lift their sanctions, characterizing them as an attempt to settle political disputes with Tehran, emphasizing that these sanctions should not affect nations that responsibly uphold international law and their obligations.