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Diplomats near renewed Iran nuclear agreement as Ukraine war rages

Iran Nuclear
Posted at 7:40 AM, Mar 17, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-17 07:42:19-04

WASHINGTON — As the war in Ukraine rages on, diplomats trying to salvage the languishing 2015 Iran nuclear deal have been forging ahead with negotiations.

They now appear to be near the cusp of a deal that would bring the U.S. back into the accord and return Iran to compliance with limits on its nuclear program.

After 11 months of on-and-off talks in Vienna, U.S. and Iranian officials say only a very small number of issues remain to be resolved.

According to The Associated Press, the door is open to an agreement — or at least an agreement in principle — among leaders in the U.S. and Iran. But, as has been frequently the case, both countries say decisions must be made by the other side, leaving a resolution in limbo even as all involved say the matter is urgent and must be resolved as soon as possible.

Meanwhile, Russia appears to have backed down on a threat to crater an agreement over Ukraine-related sanctions that had dampened prospects for a quick deal. Aljazeera reports that Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said earlier this week that he had received confirmation from Washington that sanctions over Ukraine will not affect Russia's cooperation with Iran within the deal's framework.

Restoring the 2015 Iran nuclear deal has been a policy priority for President Joe Biden since he took office in 2021. The deal was initially struck during the final years of the Obama administration but was promptly canceled by President Donald Trump in 2018. Since then, Iran has expanded its nuclear stockpile.