“A stop to the nuclear talks in Vienna is required,” EU Foreign Minister Joseph Burrell Fonts said today (Friday). This is in response to Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov’s request. Because the US will provide a written guarantee that US sanctions would not impair Moscow’s trade with Iran. Lavrov’s requests came a few days after the first round of sanctions imposed by Western countries in response to Ukraine’s incursion.
Meanwhile, talks in Vienna are still ongoing, according to US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken.
“Lavrov’s demands are irrelevant,” he remarked, pointing out that the US does not respond to them.
“Tehran tried to divorce the conversations in Vienna from Iran’s other difficulties with the West,” an Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman, Said Khatib Zada, said in reaction to Blinken’s statements. He did say, however, that the Foreign Ministry was still waiting for more information from Moscow on its demands for American guarantees. Several sources close to the situation stated they couldn’t confirm the report that nuclear talks had been halted.
According to the Iranian news agency IRNA, there have been contradicting reports in recent days about the stance of the American delegation, making the road to a potential agreement tough. Hussein Amir Abdulhian, Iran’s Foreign Minister, wrote on Twitter that “Efforts to secure a good and durable agreement are still ongoing. If the US responds consistently, it is within grasp. We need to work together, and commonsense must prevail.”
Meanwhile, a senior EU official said there would be no more conversations about what should be removed from Iran’s sanctions, but that doubts about how they would be eased remained. He went on to say that the nuclear deal should settle two or three technical issues, and that Russia has agreed to clarify its position on the pact assurances in the coming days.
As you may recall, Joseph Burrell Fontales’ statements came after a period of hope at the table. The signing of the nuclear deal with Iran is imminent, according to senior EU envoy Enrique Teacher, who is managing the talks. He remarked in a tweet on his Twitter account: “Just to be clear. ‘Expert-level talks’ and ‘formal meetings’ are no longer held. In the coming days, political decisions must be made to bring the Vienna discussions to a close. Everything else is just background noise.”
The declaration came after the Iranian envoy went for discussions in Tehran, with Iranian media reporting that talks in Vienna will continue. White House press secretary Jen Pesky told reporters in Washington that the US and its allies were “approaching” a nuclear deal with Iran, but that “critical components” still needed to be decided, she said without elaborating.