Washington obstructing Vienna negotiations: Russia FM

June 1, 2022 - 22:15

TEHRAN - Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has accused Washington of obstructing the restoration of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) by trying to introduce amendments to the nuclear agreement.

Speaking at a joint press conference with his Bahraini counterpart Abdul Latif bin Rashid Al Zayani in Manama, Lavrov stressed that Moscow will continue to work to reach an agreement on the Iranian nuclear program, UNEWS reported. 

He accused the United States of trying to obtain new gains by trying to introduce amendments to the agreement, stressing that the solution lies in returning to the implementation of the JCPOA regarding the Iranian nuclear program.

Lavrov stressed that his country will continue its plan to establish security in the Persian Gulf region, with the participation of Persian Gulf states including Iran, and to maintain peace and stability in the region.

Talks in Vienna over reviving the 2015 Iran nuclear deal still hang in the balance due to U.S. stonewalling over a range of issues raised by Iran.

Meanwhile, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) released its fresh report on the state of cooperation with Tehran. It accused Iran of not providing credible explanations on three sites in which uranium particles have been allegedly found.

“Iran has not provided explanations that are technically credible in relation to the Agency's findings at those locations,” the report said according to Reuters. It added, “The Agency remains ready to engage without delay with Iran to resolve all of these matters.”

Iranian officials said the IAEA report does not reflect the level of cooperation between Iran and the Agency. Mohammad Reza Ghaebi, the acting head of Iran's permanent representative to the Vienna-based International Organizations, said the report is one-sided and fails to reflect Iran's considerable cooperation with the IAEA.

Russia has also said that the ball is now in the U.S.’s court in terms of reviving the JCPOA. 

Mikhail Ulyanov, Permanent Representative of Russia to International Organizations in Vienna, said Tuesday that it is up to the U.S. to make a decision on the Vienna talks. “The #ViennaTalks on #JCPAOA remain on pause since March 10. According to mass media reports, Iran during the recent visit of the #EU Coordinator to Tehran demonstrated certain degree of flexibility and now waits for a response from the US side. The ball is in #Washington’s court,” he said on Twitter.

After a two-month lull in the talks, Iran appeared on Tuesday to be mounting new diplomatic efforts to push the talks forward. Ali Bagheri Kani, Iran’s chief negotiator, left Tehran for Oslo on Tuesday. “Today, I departed for Oslo in continuation of recent regional and international consultations. Serious talks over bilateral, regional and international issues are on the agenda of this trip. We stress the development of relations between Iran and Norway along with our efforts to secure [our] national interests including the removal of illegal sanctions,” he said on Twitter.

The Iranian efforts come as the U.S. keeps airing pessimism on the prospects of the talks succeeding. In his recent testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, U.S. Special Envoy for Iran Rob Malley struck a pessimistic note on the Vienna talks. 

“As I speak to you today, we do not have a deal with Iran and prospects for reaching one are, at best, tenuous,” Rob Malley told senators. He blamed the lull in talks on Iran, saying that if Iran maintains demands that go beyond the scope of the JCPOA, there will be no deal.

Iran and the U.S. have been negotiating in Vienna through intermediaries since April 2021. But they are yet to reach a final deal.

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