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Sanctions relief remains most sensitive issue at Iran nuclear talks — Russian diplomat

March 20, 2015, 13:54 UTC+3 LAUSANNE
The problems are almost the same as before although there is some progress
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© AP Photo/Ronald Zak

LAUSANNE/Switzerland/, March 20. /TASS/. The timeframe for lifting Western sanctions imposed on Iran is one of the most difficult issues at talks on Tehran’s nuclear program, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov said on Friday.

"The problems are almost the same as before although there is some progress here," Ryabkov said. "First, this is the order, the sequence and the extent of lifting the sanctions. Second, these are the restrictions on Iran’s nuclear program during the agreement’s validity period," he said.

"As we understand, these restrictions should not create invincible obstacles in this sphere, but this is a very complex and sensitive issue," the diplomat said.

Most issues - the Arak uranium enrichment facility, the enrichment level, the experimental-design works, the transparency of Iran’s nuclear program and its past military dimension - "are very politicized," he said.

"That’s why the decision on any of these issues is difficult. The sanctions issue the most difficult and also tricky one," he said.

The United Nations has imposed several rounds of sanctions on Iran since December 2006 saying that Tehran failed to fulfill its commitments in the sphere of nuclear non-proliferation.

The issue of their gradual lifting is being currently discussed at the negotiations between the five permanent members of the UN Security Council - the United States, Russia, China, the United Kingdom, and France - plus Germany (P5+1) and Iran.

No need for Russian foreign minister at Iran nuclear talks

The diplomat said there is no reason for Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov to attend talks over Iran’s nuclear program.

"It is true that some European ministers are due to arrive in Lausanne. But that doesn't mean there will be a full-fledged ministerial meeting there and that doesn't mean that agreement has been reached," Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov told journalists.

"As far as we understand, the ministers’ arrival is connected to a certain extent with the meeting Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif held with three European foreign ministers and [the EU's foreign policy chief] Federica Mogherin on Monday," Ryabkov said. "It seems that the European ministers there will discuss issues of particular interest to European delegations."

"I see no reason why the Russian minister could travel there in the course of the next day or two," the diplomat said.

"We should understand that such decisions are certainly made by ministers, and the situation may change dramatically over the next few days," he added. "But so far, as his representative, I can't say I would recommend him to travel to Lausanne."

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