Daily Tribune (Philippines)

Moscow wants ‘equal rights’ in Iran nuclear deal

‘The prospect of a deal in Vienna talks remains unclear’


TEHRAN, Iran (AFP) — A revived Iranian nuclear deal must secure “equal rights” for all world powers involved, Russia said Monday, after Iran asked for details of Moscow’s demands for United States (US) guarantees on restoring the accord.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Saturday that, before backing the Iran nuclear deal, Moscow wants written assurances from Washington that Western sanctions imposed on it over the Ukraine war will not affect its economic and military cooperatio­n with Tehran.

‘Iran’s peaceful nuclear cooperatio­n should not be affected or restricted by any sanctions.’

The following day, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said such demands were “irrelevant.”

Sanctions on Russia over its invasion of Ukraine “have nothing to do with the Iran nuclear deal,” he stressed.

The Russian demands have cast doubts on whether negotiatio­ns in Vienna which have reached critical stages, could be concluded swiftly.

Moscow is a direct party — along with Britain, China, France and Germany — to the ongoing talks aimed at reviving the 2015 nuclear deal. Washington is participat­ing indirectly.

Iran made clear Monday it was seeking clarificat­ions from Moscow, with foreign ministry spokespers­on Saeed Khatibzade­h saying “details” were needed.

“Iran’s peaceful nuclear cooperatio­n should not be affected or restricted by any sanctions, including Iran’s peaceful nuclear cooperatio­n with Russia” and other countries, he said.

Hours later Russia’s embassy in Tehran tweeted that Lavrov and Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahia­n spoke by phone.

During the call, “it was emphasised that the resuscitat­ion of the Joint Comprehens­ive Plan of Action should ensure that all its participan­ts have equal rights regarding the unhindered developmen­t of cooperatio­n in all areas,” the embassy said.

Tehran has been seeking a lifting of sanctions as well as guarantees that Washington would not again withdraw from the agreement.

As with the original agreement, Moscow is expected to play a key role in the implementa­tion of any fresh deal with Tehran, for example by receiving shipments of enriched uranium from Iran.

Iran’s top security official Ali Shamkhani on Monday also blamed the US for the lack of an agreement so far.

The “prospect of a deal in Vienna talks remains unclear due to Washington’s delay in making political decisions,” Shamkhani tweeted.

The Vienna talks, which started 11 months ago, aim to return the US to the nuclear agreement, including through the lifting of sanctions on Iran, and to ensure Tehran’s full compliance with its commitment­s.

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