“We do not agree with the definition,” Russian presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on Monday. “All of you know that Russia enjoys warm relations with Iran, we do cooperate on a range of issues, and we do appreciate our economic ties which, we hope, will go further,” he added.
Trump lambasted the landmark nuclear deal reached in 2015 between Iran, the P5+1 (the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council – China, France, Russia, United Kingdom and United States, plus Germany), and the European Union.
In the first part of the interview with Fox News host Bill O’Reilly, which was published on Sunday, Trump said “they [Iran] have total disregard for our country, they’re the number one terrorist state, they’re sending money all over the place and weapons.”
Earlier in February, one day after the White House imposed new sanctions on Iran in response to a ballistic missile test, US Defense Secretary James Mattis called Tehran the world’s “biggest state sponsor of terrorism.”
“It's no secret for anyone that Moscow and Washington hold diametrically-opposed views on many international and regional policy issues,” said Peskov. “Meanwhile, it can’t be and should not be an obstacle when it comes to forging normal communication and pragmatic mutually-beneficial relations between Russia and the US.”
A meeting between Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Iranian counterpart, Hassan Rouhani, is currently being arranged, Dmitry Peskov also said on Monday.
“Such contacts are being prepared. We’ll inform you of the possible date in due time,” Peskov said when asked if a meeting with the Iranian president was on Putin’s schedule.
Earlier on Monday, Russia’s ambassador to Iran, Levan Dzhagaryan, told RIA Novosti that “Rouhani’s visit [to Russia] is expected to take place in late March.”
“During the talks with the Russian leadership, [the sides] will discuss the main aspects of bilateral relations concerning the political and trade and economic sectors. Aside from this, attention will be paid to the most urgent issues on the regional agenda, such as the situation in Afghanistan, the Caspian problem, and the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict,” Dzhagaryan said.
The Syrian issue will also “take up significant space in the agenda of negotiations,” the ambassador added.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov echoed the Kremlin’s statement, stressing that Tehran takes an active part in fighting Islamic State (IS, previously ISIS/ISIL).
“Iran has never been complicit in any links to IS or Al-Nusra Front whatsoever,” the minister said.
“Moreover, Iran contributes to combatting IS. We have long advocated the idea of creating a unified anti-terrorist front. I am convinced that Iran must be part of our common effort if we evaluate potential contributors to such an alliance objectively,” Lavrov said.