(CNN)The UN Security Council meeting was supposed to be about confidence-building in an age of widening nuclear proliferation. However, the session featured once again a big power showdown between Russia and the United States.
For fans of political theater, it was thought the most dramatic showdown would be between visiting Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and US Ambassador Nikki Haley, scheduled to speak back to back in the council chamber. There were sharp exchanges between the two nations, but not between the two diplomats who have been among the loudest critics of each other’s global policies.
Russia for once had the entire Security Council on its side, with the issue of the nuclear deal with Iran. The deal is under threat from the Trump administration, which may decide to withdraw from the agreement.
Lavrov said, “We cannot for the benefit of political agendas of certain countries abandon a genuine achievement of international diplomacy which was a crowning achievement.”
Lavrov, a former Russian UN ambassador, warned the group of ministers and ambassadors, “Clearly the failure of the JCPOA (the Iran agreement) especially as the result of one of the parties of the five plus one would be an alarming message for the entire international security architecture, including the prospects of dealing with the nuclear problem on the Korean Peninsula.”
The linkage between dropping out of the Iran nuclear framework and the impact on persuading North Korea to sign on to a nuclear deal has been made repeatedly by not just Russia, but also US allies the United Kingdom and France, and many other Security Council countries.