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‘No one should exploit negotiations’: British, French and German frustration over ‘Russian’ suspension of new Iran nuclear deal

Britain, France and Germany have issued thinly veiled criticism of Russia over the suspension of attempts to negotiate a new nuclear deal with Iran.

The three countries, along with China and Russia, have been in talks with Iran for months in a bid to hammer out a new deal that will replace the 2015 accord that has been described as being on ‘life support’ .

The United States was included in the initial agreement, called the JCPOA, but it did not participate in the final discussions because Donald Trump withdrew from the agreement in 2018.

In recent days, there have been reports that the United States is close to being able to join the deal and that Iran is once again willing to limit its rapidly advancing nuclear program.

But the hiatus, with no timeline to relaunch talks, will be frustrating for E3, as Britain, France and Germany are aware of, with the West keen to limit Iran’s nuclear ambitions, in line with resolutions from the UN.

Although the EU only said “external factors” had forced the pause, it appears that Russia’s demand that sanctions relief on Moscow be part of the new deal caused the disruption.

It is understood that Russia wants its trade with Iran to be guaranteed, despite the sanctions regime imposed on it because of the war in Ukraine.

A statement released by the UK Foreign Office on behalf of the E3 negotiators, said: “It is disappointing that the EU coordinator has had to put the talks in Vienna on hold.

“A fair and comprehensive deal is on the table ready to be concluded, which is why E3 negotiators left Vienna last week with their job done.

“We understand that Iran and the United States have worked hard to resolve the remaining bilateral issues and therefore we are ready to conclude this agreement now.

“No one should seek to exploit the JCPOA negotiations to obtain assurances separate from the JCPOA

“It risks derailing the deal, depriving the Iranian people of the lifting of sanctions and the international community of necessary assurances about Iran’s nuclear program.

“The JCPOA deal on the table can and should be done with the utmost urgency.”

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