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France, Britain and Germany say Iran deal could collapse over Russian demands

A police car drives past the Palais Coburg in Vienna
A police car drives past the Palais Coburg where nuclear talks with Iran are being kept under wraps March 11, 2022 in Vienna, Austria. REUTERS/Lisa Leutner

March 12, 2022

PARIS (Reuters) – France, Britain and Germany warned Russia on Saturday that its demands to guarantee its trade with Iran risked the collapse of a near-concluded nuclear deal.

Negotiators have reached the final stages of talks to restore the so-called JCPOA deal, which lifted sanctions on Iran in exchange for curbing its nuclear program, long seen by the West as a cover for nuclear bomb development.

Last Saturday, however, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov unexpectedly called for far-reaching guarantees that sanctions against Moscow over its invasion of Ukraine would not affect Russian trade with Iran.

“No one should seek to exploit JCPOA negotiations to obtain assurances that are separate from the JCPOA,” France, Britain and Germany — the so-called European E3 parties to the 2015 deal — said in a joint statement.

“This risks collapsing the deal,” they said.

The deal on the table should be completed with the utmost urgency, they added.

Washington has already insisted that it will not comply with Russia’s demands.

The 11-month-old international talks aim to bring Iran back into compliance with the deal’s limits on its rapidly advancing nuclear activities and bring the United States back into the deal they struck in 2018 under former President Donald Trump.

Oil markets are closely watching the progress of talks to see if restrictions on Iranian crude exports could be lifted, which could help offset the disruption in supplies caused by Russia’s war in Ukraine.

(Reporting by John Irish; Writing by Gus Trompiz; Editing by Mark Potter)

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Bobby Allyn

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