At the conclusion of their meetings in Moscow, the two leaders underlined their commitment to maintain good relations with Iran.
"The parties emphasize the need to protect their mutually beneficial commercial and economic cooperation with Iran and firmly oppose the imposition of unilateral sanctions by any states under the pretense of their own national legislation," a joint statement said.
"The sides are pleased to note that the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) confirms in its reports that Iran continues to fulfill its obligations under the JCPOA,” the statement said. "The sides call on Iran to refrain from further steps to cease the fulfillment of its obligations under the JCPOA and call on other members of the JCPOA to fulfill their obligations.”
Iran and the United States, France, Britain, Russia, China and Germany signed the nuclear agreement on July 14, 2015 and started implementing it on January 16, 2016. Under the JCPOA, Iran undertook to put limits on its nuclear program in exchange for the removal of nuclear-related sanctions imposed against Tehran. However, US President Donald Trump pulled his country out of the JCPOA in May 2018 and reimposed sanctions against the Islamic Republic.
Trump said the deal fails to address Iran’s missile program and regional activities, demanding a new agreement.
Putin on Thursday stressed the importance of preserving the multilateral nuclear agreement signed between Iran and major world powers in 2015, saying his country does not approve of "what is being done against Iran."
"We support nothing of what is being done against Iran. We're discussing this with our partners, trying to persuade them that it is necessary to resort to measures that don't destroy the positivity, the hard work of the past years, and don't create anything long-term," Putin said during a meeting with heads of international news agencies on the sidelines of St. Petersburg International Economic Forum.
He added that Iran has fully complied with the nuclear accord, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), and the IAEA has confirmed the country’s commitments to the deal.
"From the standpoint of control over its nuclear programs, Iran is today the most verifiable country in the world. These are not hollow words; this is what the IAEA management has been talking about," the Russian president pointed out.
He pointed to several inspections made by the UN nuclear agency to Iran's nuclear sites and said the IAEA has not found "a single violation in terms of the arrangements reached in the framework of the JCPOA."
In its quarterly report on May 31, the IAEA said Iran's increased stocks of key nuclear materials are still within the limits set by the JCPOA.
Putin drew a line between Iran’s nuclear and missile programs. "Yes, someone may be concerned by Iran's missile programs. But that's a different problem," he said.
The Chinese president told Russian media ahead of his visit to the country that a rise in tensions in the Middle East owing to US pressure on Iran is worrying and all parties need to exercise restraint.
Xi said that because of the “extreme pressure” Washington has put on Tehran and the unilateral sanctions, tensions have continued to rise in the Middle East.
“The development of the situation is worrying,” Xi said, according to a transcript published by China’s Foreign Ministry ahead of his arrival in Russia on Wednesday.
The Iran nuclear deal should be fully implemented and respected, as it is of crucial importance for peace and stability in the Middle East and non-proliferation, Xi added.
“China and Russia’s views and positions on the Iran nuclear issue are highly aligned, and both hope that all relevant parties remain rational and exercise restraint, step up dialogue and consultations and lower the temperature on the present tense situation,” he said.
China has been angered by US threats against countries and companies that violate US sanctions by importing Iranian oil. China and Iran have close energy ties.
Xi did not directly address the oil sanctions issue, but appeared to allude to them by saying: “China will continue to firmly safeguard its own legitimate and lawful rights and interests.”
TASS, Interfax, Press TV and Reuters contributed to this report.