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Russia urges West to address ‘Iran’s legitimate demands’ in Vienna talks

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova

Russia has called on the Western parties to the negotiations in Vienna to work on addressing “Iran’s legitimate demands” instead of blaming Moscow for the stalemate in the talks aimed at reviving the 2015 nuclear deal.

In a post on its Twitter account on Friday, the Russian Permanent Mission to the International Organizations in Vienna quoted Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova as saying that the West is raising doubts about Russia’s commitment to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) rather than admitting its own mistakes.

“Doubts of #Russia’s commitment to #JCPOA is a card played by those who can’t admit their own mistakes. We suggest our Western colleagues focus their energy on addressing #Iran’s legitimate demands regarding the draft restoration agreement,” she said.

Washington left the JCPOA in 2018 and began to implement what it called the “maximum pressure” campaign of sanctions against the Islamic Republic, depriving the country of the economic benefits of the agreement, including the removal of sanctions, for which Iran had agreed to certain caps on its nuclear activities.

In the meantime, the other parties to the deal, in particular France, Britain and Germany, only paid lip service to safeguarding Iran’s economic dividends as promised under the JCPOA, prompting Iran – after an entire year of “strategic patience” – to reduce its nuclear obligations in a legal move under the deal.

The talks began in the Austrian capital last April on the assumption that the US, under the Joe Biden administration, is willing to repeal the so-called maximum pressure policy pursued by former president Donald Trump.

Tehran says it won’t settle for anything less than the removal of all US sanctions in a verifiable manner. It also wants guarantees that Washington would not abandon the agreement again.

Earlier this month, the talks were paused for an undetermined time despite reports suggesting that they were in final stages.

The Europeans pinned the blame on Russia for the suspension of the talks, citing Moscow’s demand for guarantees that its trade with Tehran would not be affected by Western sanctions over the operation in Ukraine.

Earlier this week, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov announced that Moscow has received guarantees from Washington it can continue its nuclear cooperation deals with Iran.

The US State Department also confirmed that the Biden administration would “not sanction Russian participation in nuclear projects that are part of resuming full implementation of the JCPOA.”

Republicans push for ban on sanctions waiver on Russia

However, Republican Senator Ted Cruz told The Washington Free Beacon that he is sponsoring a bill to prohibit the administration from waiving sanctions imposed on Russia over Ukraine.

"The Biden administration is dismantling sanctions and is aching to secure a new agreement with the Iranian regime that is even weaker than the original catastrophic Obama-Iran nuclear deal," he said.

Free Beacon also reported that Republican Congressman Darrell Issa is authoring a parallel House version of the bill.

In the House of Representatives, Congressman Jim Banks announced that he has introduced “a resolution condemning the Biden admin’s attempt to re-enter the failed, Obama-era Iran nuclear deal.”

The Republican push against Vienna talks since April 2021 is not new, but a decision by the Biden administration earlier this week to accept last-minute Russian demands has added a new twist to the dynamics of the opposition.

Iran converts enriched uranium into cancer detection material

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said in a statement on Friday that Iran has converted a fraction of its stockpile of enriched uranium into material crucial for detecting cancers and other diseases.

Iran, it said, had used 2.1 kilograms of its 60% enriched uranium to produce “highly enriched uranium targets” at a facility in Isfahan.

Those “targets” will be irradiated at the Tehran Research Reactor and later used to produce molybdenum-99, it added.

Molybdenum-99 decays within days into a form of an isotope called technetium-99m, which is used in scans that can detect cancer and assess blood supply to the heart.

Similarly, Iran’s Mehr news agency quoted informed sources as saying that some of the material had been reprocessed and that 2 kilograms of it could help 1 million people.

“The materials converted to ‘target,’ was irradiated, and has no danger of spreading, and Western countries cannot criticize Iran over this,” the report said.


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