Iran minister holds talks on nuclear deal in Moscow today
TEHRAN – Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian will head to Moscow today (Tuesday), his ministry said, days after negotiations to salvage the Iran nuclear deal stalled amid new Russian demands.
“Russia has made its official demands loud and clear, and this needs to be discussed among all parties to the 2015 agreement, like all the demands that have been presented by other parties,” foreign ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh told reporters on Monday.
“The foreign ministers of the parties (to the 2015 Iranian nuclear deal) are in constant contact” and Amir-Abdollahian “will go to Moscow on Tuesday to continue the discussions,” Khatibzadeh added. More than 10 months of talks in Vienna have brought major powers close to renewing the landmark 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) on regulating Iran’s nuclear programme.
But the negotiations were halted after Russia on March 5 demanded guarantees that Western sanctions imposed following its invasion of Ukraine would not damage its trade with Iran.
On March 11, the European Union’s foreign policy chief Josep Borrell tweeted that the pause was “due to external factors,” despite the fact that “a final text is essentially ready and on the table”.
The United States then put the ball in Iran and Russia’s courts.
“We are confident that we can achieve mutual return to compliance… (if) those decisions are made in places like Tehran and Moscow,” said State Department spokesman Ned Price.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has dismissed as “irrelevant” the Russian demands for guarantees, saying that they “just are not in any way linked together”. But on Monday, Iran’s foreign ministry spokesman repeated Tehran’s position that the move had to come from the US.