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VIENNA, December 13. /ITAR-TASS/.The Iranian delegation’s decision to suspend negotiations with the six world powers in Vienna, taken several hours after the United States announced the introduction of punitive measures against a number of companies and persons for the violation of the sanctions regime against Iran, is “a bad sign” for the dialogue on the Iranian nuclear program, a diplomatic source told ITAR-TASS on Friday.
“The negotiating process is being put to the first test,” he said. According to him, nobody excluded that the difficult consultations as they are would pass without a hitch. “But the toughening of the sanctions regime - it’s not a hitch, but a roadblock,” the diplomat stressed.
Expert-level negotiations are held in Vienna between the six key powers (five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany, P5+1) since Monday. They are aimed at finding the practical ways to reach political agreements that had been initialed in Geneva in late November. According to statements of the Iranian authorities, the delegation departed for Tehran “for consultations.”
The Geneva agreement stipulates that Iran would within six months suspend the development of its nuclear program, and the Western partners would not impose new sanctions. The Iranian Foreign Ministry believes that the introduction of punitive measures against companies contradicts “the very meaning and fundamental principle” of the agreement on Tehran’s nuclear program, reached in Geneva. According to Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araghchi, the ministry is currently “studying the possible consequences of the expansion by the U.S. Department of the Treasury of the ‘blacklist’ of Iranian companies and is preparing possible response action.”
The U.S. step does not contradict the letter of the Geneva agreements, a diplomatic source told ITAR-TASS. “Because formally, the measures are taken within the existing sanctions,” he said.
The U.S. Department of the Treasury said in a release, in particular: “The Joint Plan of Action reached [by the P5+1 group] in Geneva does not, and will not, interfere with our continued efforts to expose and disrupt those supporting Iran’s nuclear program or seeking to evade our sanctions.