Russia's Ukraine invasion threatens Iran nuclear deal talks: report

Russia's Ukraine invasion threatens Iran nuclear deal talks: report
2 min read
26 February, 2022
Simon Coveney, Ireland's defence and foreign minister, said a straining of US-Russia ties could threaten to make discussions on saving the nuclear agreement "a much more difficult negotiation to conclude" despite "genuine progress in recent weeks".
Discussions on saving the atomic accord have happened in Austria's capital, Vienna [ALEX HALADA/AFP/Getty-file photo]

Efforts to save the Iran atomic accord could be threatened after Russia invaded its western neighbour Ukraine in an unprovoked attack on Thursday.

Russia, which has friendly relations with Iran, served as an intermediary between the United States and Tehran in talks to rescue the agreement.

Joining it were nations including the UK and France – whose officials must fulfil this role while their governments staunchly object to Moscow's invasion.

An agreement on saving the nuclear pact was imminent, after an almost year-long process, according to diplomats, news agency Bloomberg reported on Thursday.

"There are moments in time when a deal is possible and sometimes if you allow those moments to pass, the deal starts to drift away, often for reasons outside the control of the negotiations," Simon Coveney, Ireland's defence and foreign minister, said on Saturday to Iranian FM Hossein Amirabdollahian during the Munich Security Conference.

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The Irish minister made his remarks in Ireland's capacity as UN Security Council "facilitator" for the nuclear accord.

He said a straining of US-Russia ties could threaten to make discussions on saving the agreement "a much more difficult negotiation to conclude" despite "genuine progress in recent weeks".

Iran has been cautioned that it must choose quickly. Ali Bagheri Kani, he country's most-senior official in the discussions, returned to Tehran on Wednesday to discuss the way forward, Bloomberg said.

The Islamic Republic must weigh up dropping its insistence that America provide assurances the accord won't be pulled out from under its feet once more.

In 2018, then-US President Donald Trump withdrew from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), and Iran began breaching the deal's terms a year after.

The Americans maintain they are unable to give such assurances.

Moscow and Washington have explained their representatives have cooperated in the discussions on saving the JCPOA, regardless of disputes on outside this file, according to Bloomberg.

It appears the countries noted this cooperation before Ukraine was invaded, though this was not immediately clear from the reporting.