Tuesday, April 16, 2024

E3 cautions Iran nuclear deal could collapse on Russian demands

France, Britain and Germany warned Russia on Saturday that the demands to have its trade guaranteed with Iran risked the collapse of an almost-completed nuclear deal.

Negotiators have reached the final stages of discussions to restore the so-called JCPOA (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action) deal, which lifted sanctions on Iran in return for curbs on its nuclear programme.

However, last Saturday Moscow’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov unexpectedly demanded sweeping guarantees that Russian trade with Iran would not be affected by sanctions imposed on Moscow over its invasion of Ukraine.

“Nobody should seek to exploit JCPOA negotiations to obtain assurances that are separate to the JCPOA,” France, Britain and Germany – the so-called E3 European parties to the 2015 accord – announced in a joint statement.

“This risks the collapse of the deal,” they said.

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

Washington has already insisted it will not agree to Russia’s demands.

On Friday, EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell stated a pause in the Vienna negotiations, aimed at saving the Iran nuclear deal, is needed due to “external factors”.

The Iranian foreign ministry spokesman said a pause that has been announced in the Vienna talks could serve as a momentum for resolving all remaining issues and mark a final return to the negotiating table to revive the Iran nuclear deal.

Saeed Khatibzadeh wrote on Twitter Iran and the P4+1 group are focused on successfully concluding the negotiations.

The Foreign Ministry spokesman added no external factor will be able to affect the joint will of the parties to the talks to reach a collective agreement.

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

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