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Monday, January 24, 2022

Russian FM says Iran nuclear talks to resume before end of year

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Diplomats at the talks have been warning of time running out to restore the nuclear accord.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said talks that aim to restore the historic 2015 nuclear accord are set to resume before the end of this year, Reuters reported on Wednesday.

The Russian diplomat did not provide any specific date in his statement.

The seventh round of indirect talks between the US and Iran in Vienna kicked off on 29 November, attended by negotiators from the p4+1 – China, France, Russia, the UK plus Germany.

The talks initially started in the Austrian capital in April this year to revive the 2015 nuclear accord, but adjourned following the sixth round in June. They were put on hold as Iran’s elections took place, which saw the victory of Ebrahim Raisi.

The latest round adjourned late last week though no results regarding the restoration of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action [JCPOA] were announced.

“The seventh round of the Vienna Talks was successful in a sense that it prepared sound basis for more intensive negotiations. It is fully confirmed that further work will be based on the results of the previous rounds. The negotiators now much better understand each other,” said Russia’s representative at the talks Mikhail Ulyanov last week.

UK FM, GCC ministers urge restoration of Iran nuclear accord

In 2018, former US President Donald Trump withdrew Washington from the JCPOA and imposed crippling sanctions on Iran in bid to apply “maximum pressure” on the country.

Despite unilaterally withdrawing from an accord that took years to reach, the US accused of Tehran of not abiding by its commitments under the JCPOA.

While the Iranian side has been demanding the lifting of sanctions, the Joe Biden administration has continued to impose additional punitive measures.

Western powers at the talks have warned that time is running out of time to revive the nuclear accord while also raising concerns over Iran’s uranium enrichment.

Speaking to the CNN on Tuesday, US Representative for Iran Rob Malley said there is a risk of an “escalating crisis”.

“At some point in the not-so-distant future, we will have to conclude that the JCPOA is no more, and we’d have to negotiate a wholly new different deal, and of course we’d go through a period of escalating crisis,” said Malley.

On Monday, British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss and her counterparts from the Gulf Cooperation Council [GCC] stressed the importance of the restoration of the 2015 nuclear accord.

“Foreign Ministers urged Iran to seize the current diplomatic opportunity to restore the JCPOA now to avoid bringing the region and international community to a crisis point,” read a joint communiqué on the UK Government’s website.

Iran’s Foreign Ministry Spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh later said the joint statement was “unfounded and fabricated” that aimed at “engendering divisiveness”, as Tehran Times reported on Wednesday.


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