Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs Victoria Nuland’s comments come after Secretary of State Antony Blinken said earlier in the day that Moscow remains engaged in the effort to salvage the Iran nuclear deal, despite a recent demand by the Russian foreign minister, Sergey Lavrov, for written guarantees that sanctions imposed for its invasion of Ukraine will not its impact future dealings with Tehran.
Nuland said “no” when asked at a US Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing if the administration has provided any written guarantees to Russia that their trade, investment or military cooperation with Iran will not be subject to sanctions.
In his public comments, Blinken has stressed that the Ukraine and Iran nuclear deal issues are “totally different” and “not in any way linked together.”
However, when asked by Sen. Todd Young, a Republican from Indiana, if “anything about your negotiations with the Russians changed as a result of their invasion of Ukraine,” Nuland replied: “Senator in this open setting, I will simply say that you are right. Russia is trying to up the ante and broaden its demands with regard to the JCPOA and we are not playing ‘Let’s Make a Deal.’”
Nuland added the US is not negotiating with Russia “vis-à-vis” Iran and echoed the top US diplomat that Russia and the US share the “same strategic objective” when it comes to efforts to salvage the nuclear deal: to ensure that Iran is never able to get a nuclear weapon.
Tehran denies seeking nuclear weapons, stressing it wants to master nuclear technology for peaceful purposes.