Reuters reports: A breakthrough agreement to end a standoff over Iran’s nuclear program appeared to face its first major difficulty on Friday with Russia warning that a U.S. sanctions move could “seriously” complicate its implementation.
Russia, which along with the United States is among the six world powers which negotiated the November 24 interim accord with Tehran, echoed Iran’s criticism by saying Washington’s sanctions decision violated the spirit of the deal.
Moscow’s statement came after diplomats said Iran had interrupted technical talks with the six nations in Vienna over how to implement the agreement, under which Tehran is to cap its nuclear program in return for limited sanctions easing.
The developments highlighted potential obstacles negotiators face in pressing ahead with efforts to resolve a decade-old dispute between the Islamic Republic and the West that has stirred fears of a new Middle East war.
Several Western diplomats insisted the inconclusive outcome of the December 9-12 expert-level discussions in Vienna should not be seen as a sign that the political deal hammered out nearly three weeks ago was in serious trouble.
But Russia made its concerns clear a day after the United States blacklisted additional companies and people under existing sanctions intended to prevent Iran from obtaining the capability to make nuclear weapons. Iran denies any such aims.
“The U.S. administration’s decision goes against the spirit of this document,” said Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova, referring to the Geneva agreement between Iran and the United States, Russia, China, France, Britain and Germany.
“Widening American ‘blacklists’ could seriously complicate the fulfillment of the Geneva agreement, which proposes easing sanctions pressure.” [Continue reading…]