US urges Moscow and Tehran to take ‘decisions’ needed to revive Iran nuclear deal
WASHINGTON — The United States on Friday urged Moscow and Tehran to make the “decisions” needed to revive the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, putting the ball squarely in their court as last-minute Russian demands threatened to derail the process .
“Decisions will have to be made in places like Tehran and Moscow,” US State Department spokesman Ned Price told reporters after the European Union announced a pause in negotiations on the deal limiting the Iranian nuclear program.
“We are confident that we can achieve a mutual return to compliance with the JCPOA if…those decisions are made in places like Tehran and Moscow,” Price said, using the agreement’s acronym officially known as name Joint Global Action Plan.
The current round of talks between world powers and Iran, which is taking place in the Austrian capital, Vienna, had appeared close to its goal until Russia made a new round of demands last week.
Russia has said it wants guarantees that Western economic sanctions imposed in retaliation for its invasion of Ukraine will not affect its trade with Iran.
Price told reporters that “the new Russia-related sanctions are totally and entirely independent of the JCPOA” and “should have no impact” on the talks.
“We have no intention of offering Russia anything new or specific with regard to these sanctions,” he added.
Price confirmed that US negotiator Rob Malley has returned to Washington with his team for the time being.
Price warned that “there is very little time left” to salvage the deal, which began to crumble when former US President Donald Trump pulled the US out in 2018.
Israel has vowed not to let Tehran obtain nuclear weapons and warned that funds from a sanctions-free Iranian economy will allow Iran to step up support for its proxies across the Middle East, including the group Lebanese Hezbollah terrorist.
Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said Thursday that Tehran would not bow to pressure to reduce its “defensive power”, regional proxies or advances in nuclear technology.