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Iran says US must make decision on reviving nuclear deal

FILE PHOTO: Iran's flag pictured in March
FILE PHOTO: The Iranian flag flies in front of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) headquarters in Vienna, Austria on March 1, 2021. REUTERS/Lisi Niesner/File Photo

March 14, 2022

DUBAI (Reuters) – The United States must make a decision to finalize a deal to save Iran’s 2015 nuclear deal with world powers, Iran’s foreign ministry spokesman said on Monday amid fears talks in Vienna could stall.

Efforts to finalize a new deal have been left in limbo after a last-minute demand from Russia – now at odds with the West over its invasion of Ukraine – forced the powers to pause talks indefinitely, though a largely finished text is available.

Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian will visit Russia on Tuesday, ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh said at a weekly news conference, without elaborating.

The Iranian newspaper Nour News, which belongs to a high-level security agency, described the foreign minister’s visit to Moscow as “a platform for serious, frank and forward-looking talks” between two countries, which had shown that “they can work together very closely, decisively and successfully complex problems”.

Washington would be open to “diplomatic alternatives” to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon if a deadlock triggered by sanctions on Russia makes a formal return to the 2015 nuclear deal impossible, State Department spokesman Ned Price said Monday .

Talks in Vienna were paused last week after Russia demanded sweeping guarantees that Russian trade with Iran would not be hampered by sanctions against Moscow over its invasion of Ukraine – a demand Western powers find unacceptable and Washington insists has passed that it will not agree .

“We are currently taking a breather from the nuclear talks,” Khatibzadeh said. “We are not at a point now where we are announcing a deal as there are some important outstanding issues that Washington needs to decide.”

The US State Department on Friday said Washington continued to believe a possible deal to return to the 2015 deal was near, but said decisions had to be made in places like Tehran and Moscow.

A failure in talks to restore restrictions on its uranium enrichment program could see Tehran come close to developing nuclear weapons, a prospect that could ignite a new war in the Middle East.

Tehran denies ever looking for nuclear bombs.

STAY IN VIENNA

Nevertheless, Tehran seemed cautiously optimistic on Monday when assessing the future of the eleven-month-old negotiations.

“We will remain in the Vienna talks until our legal and logical demands are met and a strong agreement is reached,” Ali Shamkhani, secretary of the Supreme National Security Council, which makes decisions at the Vienna talks, said in a tweet.

In Washington, 49 of the 50 Republican US senators said they would not support a nuclear deal with Iran.

They pledged in a statement to do everything in their power to reverse an agreement that does not “completely block Iran’s ability to develop a nuclear weapon”, limit its ballistic missile program and oppose those like them call it, provide Iranian support to terrorism.

Qatari Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani said he discussed nuclear talks with his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov during a visit to Moscow on Monday, without elaborating.

On Sunday, Iran fired a dozen rockets at Erbil, the capital of the autonomous Kurdish-Iraqi region, in an attack that appeared to target the United States and its allies.

Iranian state media said Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps carried out the attack on Israeli “strategic centers” in Erbil, suggesting it was in revenge for recent Israeli airstrikes that killed Iranian military personnel in Syria.

Tehran has warned Iraqi authorities many times that its territory should not be used by third parties, including Kurdish fighters, the United States and Israel, to attack Iran, Khatibzadeh said.

Iranian state television reported Monday that security forces foiled a planned sabotage at Iran’s Fordo nuclear site by a network recruited by Israel and made several arrests.

Iran has accused Israel – which is widely believed to have the Middle East’s only nuclear arsenal – of carrying out multiple attacks on facilities linked to its nuclear program and killing its nuclear scientists in recent years. Israel has neither denied nor confirmed the allegations.

(Reporting by Patricia Zengerle, Humeyra Pamuk and Simon Lewis in Washington and Dubai Newsroom; Writing by Michael Georgy; Editing by Mark Heinrich, Gareth Jones and Grant McCool)

https://www.oann.com/iran-foreign-ministry-spokesperson-says-u-s-has-to-take-decision-to-revive-nuclear-deal/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=iran-foreign-ministry-spokesperson-says-u-s-has-to-take-decision-to-revive-nuclear-deal Iran says US must make decision on reviving nuclear deal

Bobby Allyn

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