Iran Quits Nuclear Talks After US Expands Blacklist Sanctions

"We are evaluating the situation and will make the appropriate response," is how Iran's lead negotiator Abbas Araqchi reacted after accusing Washington on Friday of going against the spirit of a landmark agreement reached last month by expanding its sanctions blacklist. As AFP reports, Iranian negotiators quit the implementation talks late on their fourth day Thursday after Washington blacklisted a dozen companies and individuals for evading US sanctions. US Secretary of State Kerry, ever the optimist we presume, said "we’re making progress, but I think we’re at a point in those talks where folks feel a need to consult, take a moment," but Araqchi's comments on State TV give them little room for compromise, America's move "is by no means constructive and we are seriously critical of it."

 

Via AFP,

Iran has quit nuclear talks with world powers, accusing Washington on Friday of going against the spirit of a landmark agreement reached last month by expanding its sanctions blacklist.

 

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Iran's chief nuclear negotiator Abbas Araqchi said the US move went against the spirit of the deal struck in Geneva under which the powers undertook to impose no further sanctions for six months.

 

Tehran was now weighing the "appropriate response", he said.

 

"America's move is against the spirit of the Geneva deal," Araqchi told the Fars news agency as his team headed back to Tehran from Vienna.

 

"We are evaluating the situation and will make the appropriate response.

 

"Such a measure is by no means constructive and we are seriously critical of it," Araqchi later said on state television.

 

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"The negotiations were halted by Iranian delegation because of new American sanctions. The Iranian negotiating team has halted the talks at this stage and are headed back to the capital due to America's lack of commitment to the agreement," Mehr reported.

 

Kerry said it was now time for consultations.

 

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The blacklisting of a dozen additional foreign firms and individuals for evading US sanctions was widely seen as a way to head off moves in Congress to impose additional sanctions that would be in clear breach of the Geneva agreement.

 

Administration officials insisted the timing was entirely coincidental.

 

But just hours afterwards, Senate banking committee chairman Tim Johnson and the committee's top Republican Michael Crapo agreed with the White House that Washington should not introduce new sanctions, warning they could "rupture" international unity against Tehran's nuclear programme.

 

The comments virtually assured that no new sanctions legislation would pass Congress before the year-end break, although lawmakers could controversially introduce a new sanctions bill within the next week.

 

Those blacklisted on Thursday included the Singapore-based Mid Oil Asia and Singa Tankers, both companies accused of helping Iran transfer badly needed funds to a foreign bank on behalf of the National Iranian Tanker Company.

 

Well that didn't last long did it?