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JCPOA revival talks too much dependent on US domestic affairs, says Russian envoy

The photo, taken on December 9, 2021, shows a meeting of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) Joint Commission in Vienna, Austria.

A senior Russian diplomat says talks to revive the 2015 nuclear deal are “too much dependent” on the US domestic political schedule, hinting at the mid-term Congressional elections in the United States set to be held in November.

“The talks are too much dependent on the domestic political schedule of another participant,” Mikhail Ulyanov, head of the Russian delegation to the talks in the Austrian capital city of Vienna, said in a tweet on Monday.

The senior Russian diplomat criticized the “unfair” attempts to put all the blame on Iran.

“Finger pointing seems to be a sign that the #ViennaTalks are at a stalemate” stemming from a number of “various factors,” he said.

Ulyanov’s tweet came after EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell, the Vienna talks’ coordinator, told reporters in New York that he saw no prospect of any progress during this week’s annual meeting of the United Nations General Assembly.

“There is a proposal from the (EU) coordinator on the table and it will remain on the table. I don’t see a better solution and it won’t become caduc (null and void)," Borrell said.

The United States, under former President Donald Trump, abandoned the multilateral nuclear deal, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), in May 2018 and reinstated unilateral sanctions that the agreement had lifted.

The talks to salvage the agreement kicked off in the Austrian capital city of Vienna in April last year, months after Joe Biden succeeded Trump, with the intention of examining Washington’s seriousness in rejoining the deal and removing anti-Iran sanctions.

Despite notable progress, the US’s indecisiveness and procrastination caused multiple interruptions in the marathon talks.

In recent weeks, there have been unfruitful, indirect exchanges of responses between Tehran and Washington over an EU draft proposal on restoring the JCPOA, with Iranian officials urging their American counterparts to show “realism” and “flexibility” in order to secure a deal.

European diplomats say talks now appear headed toward a stalemate until after the US mid-term elections on November 8.

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