Russia was at the table as Iran's chief nuclear negotiator Ali Bagheri Kani arrived for closed-door nuclear talks in Vienna.
/ March 4, 2022
Russia, via its invasion of Ukraine, has become a “pariah on the world stage,” according to U.S. State Department Spokesman Ned Price.
But the Biden administration is at the same time scrambling to keep the lines of communications open with Moscow which has been instrumental in efforts to revive the nuclear deal with Iran.
Biden’s team of negotiators and those from European states continue to partner with Russia in negotiations with Iran in Vienna, even as they sanctioned Russia over its invasion of Ukraine.
The head of the Russian delegation to the nuclear talks, Mikhail Ulyanov, tweeted a photo of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) participants – the U.S., France, Germany, UK, Russia and China – without Iran, which refuses to negotiate directly with the Americans.
In 2018, President Donald Trump withdrew the U.S. from the JCPOA and slapped heavy sanctions on Iran, saying Iran hid elements of its nuclear program and continued malign actions and proxy warfare throughout the Middle East. In the ensuing years, Iran upped its uranium enrichment to 60 percent – weapons-grade is 90 percent – among other violations of the 2015 nuclear accord.
Iran has demanded the lifting of all sanctions invoked since the U.S. left the JCPOA, including those for terrorism and human rights violations.
In addition, Iran has sought a guarantee from the U.S. that future presidents will not leave the deal, which the Biden administration cannot legally grant.
Iran’s chief negotiator, Ali Bagheri Kani, has returned to Vienna for final consultations on the nuclear talks.
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