March 11, 2022
by John Irish
VIENNA (Reuters) – Iran and the world powers on Friday suspended talks on reviving the 2015 nuclear deal due to “external factors”, the EU’s top diplomat said after Russia’s last-minute demands threatened to torpedo the talks, which were largely over.
Eleven months of talks to rebuild the agreement that lifted sanctions against Iran against reducing its nuclear program have reached a final stage.
But last Saturday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov unexpectedly demanded broad guarantees that Russia’s trade with Iran would not be affected by sanctions imposed on Moscow for its invasion of Ukraine – a demand that the West says is unacceptable and Washington has demanded that they will not agree.
“#ViennaTalks needs to be suspended due to external factors,” European Union Secretary for Foreign Affairs Josep Borrell wrote on Twitter. “The final text is actually ready and on the table.
Tehran said on Thursday that there were new obstacles to reviving the agreement. Washington stressed that it did not intend to comply with Russia’s demands, which it has said had nothing to do with the Iran talks.
He added that there were still a few unresolved and difficult issues to be resolved.
The parties to the talks had expected to conclude an agreement before last Sunday that would bring Iran back in line with restrictions on its rapidly growing nuclear activities and see the United States rejoin the agreement.
Nearly four years ago, then-US President Donald Trump decided to abandon the 2015 nuclear deal and reinstate sanctions on Tehran.
Russia’s ambassador to the talks, Mikhail Ulyanov, dismissed allegations that Moscow was the cause of the talks.
“The outcome of the agreement does not depend solely on Russia,” he told reporters after meeting with EU Commissioner Enrique Mora. “There are other actors who need extra time and are further worried and that is what they are talking about.
Mora told reporters that they had almost reached an agreement and that he would work with all delegations to resolve outstanding issues. He said he hoped they could start again very soon.
The Iranian Foreign Ministry said a break in talks could create momentum to resolve outstanding issues, but insisted that external factors do not affect the willingness to continue with the wage agreement.
“A break in #ViennaTalks could be a momentum to solve all the remaining problems and final returns. A successful end to the talks will be the main focus of all, “Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh said on Twitter.
Russia’s demand initially angered Tehran and appeared to help them and Washington reach an agreement on the few difficult issues left, diplomats said.
But a sudden barrage of public remarks by Iranian officials, including Ali Khamenei, the top leader, on Thursday indicated that the tide had turned.
European negotiators from France, Britain and Germany had already left a week ago, believing that they had gone as far as they could, and that it was now up to the United States and Iran to agree on the issues that did not exist.
Negotiations in Vienna have continued with only a fraction of the number of daily meetings that have taken place in recent weeks. Four Western diplomats had said the talks were almost over until Russia made its demands.
“I think there is still a clear way to revive the agreement, given that the United States and Iran seem to be on the same page,” said Henry Rome, an Iranian analyst at Eurasia Group.
“But it will require a healthy dose of creativity and flexibility on the part of all parties to find a way to work with, or most likely around, Moscow.
(Editing: Raissa Kasolowsky, Hugh Lawson, William Maclean)
External factors force a halt to Iran’s nuclear talks, says the EU
Source link External factors force a halt to Iran’s nuclear talks, says the EU