West using alleged Iran drone delivery excuse to halt JCPOA: Russia
The senior Russian diplomat accuses the West of using excuses to pause talks to revive the JCPOA.
A senior Russian diplomat has slammed the West for using allegations of Iranian drone deliveries to Russia as a "clumsy excuse" to put the Vienna talks on reviving the 2015 Iran nuclear deal on hold, if not canceled entirely.
“Alleged supplies of drones is a clumsy excuse for freezing (if not killing) the #ViennaTalks on #JCPOA,” Mikhail Ulyanov, Russia's permanent representative to Vienna-based international organizations, tweeted on Friday.
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The remarks were made in response to an Al-Monitor report that quoted unnamed US and EU officials as blaming Iran for the failure of talks to resurrect the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. “Looks like the US + E3 have a temptation to move to ‘Plan B’. Big mistake. It’s difficult to expect that such a plan can be a credible option. More likely just a non-starter,” added the Russian diplomat.
Alleged supplies of drones is a clumsy excuse for freezing (if not killing) the #ViennaTalks on #JCPOA. Looks like the US + E3 have a temptation to move to “Plan B”. Big mistake. It’s difficult to expect that such a plan can be a credible option. More likely just a non-starter. https://t.co/TAJKsdKwbE— Mikhail Ulyanov (@Amb_Ulyanov) January 5, 2023
The remarks come as negotiations, which began in April last year in Vienna, have been stalled since August because Washington refuses to lift sanctions imposed on Iran by the previous Donald Trump administration.
The Biden administration had criticized his predecessor's decision to scrap the deal, known officially as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), and vowed to reverse the measure shortly after taking office.
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However, Biden administration officials have increased the so-called maximum pressure campaign against Iran and have stated on multiple occasions that talks to resurrect the 2015 nuclear deal are no longer their primary focus.
Observers believe that Washington is attempting to gain leverage in negotiations by making baseless accusations against Iran.
‘JCPOA not on US’s agenda’
In the meantime, US State Department spokesperson Ned Price reiterated on Wednesday that the revival of the JCPOA is not on the agenda of Washington.
“The JCPOA hasn’t been on the agenda for some months now,” he said, adding, “right now our focus is on the protests, our focus is on what Iran is providing to Russia and what in turn Russia is doing with those materials and wares to the people of Ukraine.”
Tehran has repeatedly rejected reports of drone delivery to Russia for the Ukraine war, while condemning the US and other Western countries for stoking the deadly unrest in the country with "interventionist remarks".
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Iran's intelligence agencies have uncovered evidence of American and other Western spy agencies in recent violent riots inside Iran, which erupted in the aftermath of the death of Iranian woman Mahsa Amini in mid-September.
Iran has demanded that the US provide assurances that it will not leave it again before it can re-enter the JCPOA. Washington has refused to provide a legally binding guarantee, making Tehran skeptical of the Biden administration's commitment to the talks.