Diplomatic Briefing

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Newsline: Iran top diplomat heads to Russia, blames US

Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian will head to Moscow on Tuesday for talks with his Russian counterpart, the Iranian foreign ministry has announced, as it doubled down on its position that the United States is preventing an agreement in the nuclear deal talks held in Vienna. Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatbizadeh told reporters on Monday that Amirabdollahian’s meeting with Sergey Lavrov will mainly focus on the discussions in the Austrian capital to restore the Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), as the deal is formally known. The spokesman stressed that reports by Western media that the talks are mostly held up by Russia’s demand are part of the US strategy. “Downgrading what is happening in Vienna to one element – meaning Russia’s demand – is what the US wants so everyone would forget its own responsibilities. No one must forget that the party responsible for the fact that we are still at the point of non-agreement is the US,” he said. “All the issues are on the US basket, and we announce that if Washington adopts a suitable political decision today, delegations can return to Vienna tomorrow,” Khatibzadeh said, adding that Russia and China have had the most supportive attitude since the start and Iran was confident that that would continue. (https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2022/3/14/iran-blames-us-for-jcpoa-delays-as-top-diplomat-heads-to-russia) Khatibzadeh said the pause in the talks announced by European coordinators on Friday does not signal an impasse. He also portrayed Russia’s last-minute demand that sanctions related to its invasion of Ukraine will not affect its future dealings with Iran, pointing to other proposals brought on the table by the various negotiating sides since the beginning of the talks in April 2021.

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