European Union High Representative for Foreign Affairs Josep Borrell announced on March 12 the suspension of the Vienna nuclear negotiations to revive the nuclear agreement between Iran and the West after eight rounds, during which no tangible result has been reached about signing a new agreement or lifting US economic sanctions imposed on Tehran.
The media revealed that the reason behind this is Moscow, as it set new conditions in order to obstruct the nuclear deal talks, because it is currently preoccupied with its war against Ukraine, especially since Borrell also did not mention the reason for the suspension of those negotiations but said, “There is a need to pause the talks due to external factors.”
Iranian reformist newspapers highlighted this, indicating that the suspension of negotiations to revive the nuclear agreement is related to Moscow, especially since Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov demanded in his statements a few days before the announcement of the suspension of the Vienna negotiations that Moscow obtain guarantees that it has access to the benefits of the nuclear agreement and the non-implementation of the sanctions currently imposed on it due to Ukraine when it is decided to return to the nuclear agreement.
Russia and Iran: For whose benefit?
Opinions varied between those who support and oppose this, as there were those who said that the Russian position is aimed at thwarting the Vienna nuclear negotiations, especially after Moscow confirmed that lifting US sanctions on Iran might contribute to Tehran’s export of its oil to global markets and the decline in demand for Russian oil, which Moscow does not want. However, others saw that suspending the negotiations at this particular time might later lead to their success, saying that there would be more opportunity and space for the parties to the nuclear agreement to discuss their differences.
Dr. Mohamed Ebadi, an Egyptian researcher specializing in Iranian affairs, said that it is natural for the Vienna negotiations to stop due to the current situation on the international scene regarding the Russian-Ukrainian war. He noted that Russia is a major party to the negotiations and is one of the countries most supportive of concluding a nuclear agreement for two reasons: the first is that it does not want Iran to be a nuclear state, and the second is the economic benefit that Moscow would have obtained if the US sanctions against Iran were lifted, as Moscow considers itself a strong economic partner of Iran, as evidenced by the agreements signed during the recent visit of Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi to the Russian capital two months ago.
Ebadi pointed out in an exclusive statement to the Reference that this pause will be temporary and will result in Iran benefiting from global events and the preoccupation of NATO and Washington with what is happening on the international scene, as Tehran will return to militancy and will expand the ceiling of its demands until it obtains what it wants, especially after the Iranian Revolutionary Guard recently revealed a city of missiles and drones.