Russia, U.S. urge Iran nuclear deal ‘as soon as possible’
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and his U.S. counterpart John Kerry called on Wednesday for an agreement on a nuclear deal with Iran to be reached as soon as possible.
“The need to reach as soon as possible a comprehensive agreement which would allow to fully normalise the situation around the Iranian nuclear programme has been acknowledged,” the Russian foreign ministry said following a call between Lavrov and Kerry.
They spoke after Iran and world powers met in Oman on Tuesday amid signs that an elusive deal on Tehran’s nuclear programme might not be struck by a November 24 deadline.
Russia’s chief negotiator Sergei Ryabkov said after Tuesday’s talks that he was still “reasonably optimistic”.
The agreement is aimed at easing Western suspicions over Tehran’s nuclear intentions as well as damaging sanctions on the Iranian economy.
On Tuesday, Russia signed a contract to build two nuclear reactors at the existing Russian-built Bushehr plant and announced plans for a total of nine.
State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki confirmed the two men had spoken about the Iran negotiations by phone on Wednesday, but did not go into detail about their conversation.
She said however that Russia’s contract with Iran was “technically separate from the negotiations over a nuclear deal”.
“Broadly speaking, civilian nuclear cooperation is not prohibited by UN Security Council resolutions,” Psaki told reporters.