Iranian nuclear talks clouded by Russian demands - GulfToday

Iranian nuclear talks clouded by Russian demands


Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov speaks during a press conference. File photo

Gulf Today Report

Talks to revive Iran’s 2015 nuclear deal with world powers were mired in uncertainty on Sunday following Russia's demands for a US guarantee that the sanctions it faces over the Ukraine conflict will not hurt its trade with Tehran.

Moscow threw the potential spanner in the works on Saturday, just as months of indirect talks between Tehran and Washington in Vienna appeared to be headed for an agreement, with Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov saying the Western sanctions over Ukraine had become a stumbling block for the nuclear deal.


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Meanwhile, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Sunday dismissed as "irrelevant" Russian demands for guarantees that new sanctions linked to Ukraine will not affect Moscow's rights under a reworked Iran nuclear deal.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken speaks during a meeting. 

"These things are totally different and just are not, in any way, linked together. So I think that's irrelevant," Blinken said in an interview with CBS's "Face the Nation" show. He added that a potential deal with Iran was close, but cautioned that a couple of very challenging remaining issues were unresolved.

With the parties to the Iran agreement, which the US abandoned in 2018, now seemingly close to a new accord, Blinken rejected fresh demands voiced on Saturday by Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.

IAEA chief Rafael Grossi shakes hands with Head of AEOI Mohammad Eslami in Tehran. Reuters

Since the election of Iran's hardline president Ebrahim Raisi last year, senior officials have been pushing for deeper ties with Russia.

Iran's top authority, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei, has publicly and privately been calling for closer ties with Russia due to his deep mistrust of the United States.

The sanctions on Russia over its invasion of Ukraine "have nothing to do with the Iran nuclear deal," Blinken said on CBS talk show "Face the Nation."

They "just are not in any way linked together, so I think that's irrelevant," he said, speaking from Moldova, a small country on Ukraine's southwest border.

Blinken added it was not only in America's interest but Russia's as well that Iran not be able "to have a nuclear weapon or the capacity to produce a weapon on very, very short order."


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