Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has expressed his concerns about a possibility that the beginning of the implementation of agreements between the P5+1 group of world powers and Iran concerning the Iranian nuclear program might be delayed to January 2014 because of the EU’s position. “Unfortunately, the beginning of the first phase is being delayed, because the European Union has told us that these agreements have to be endorsed by all the EU member-states. The next opportunity for this will be on December 16 this year,” Lavrov said on Rossiya-24 news TV channel Saturday.
“However, there are indications that the European Union members might be unable to endorse this package this time around, and then everything will be put off until January. That is, the counting of the six-month period for implementing the first phase will be delayed for one more month,” he said.
The sextet and Iran had begun discussing the implementation in Vienna, but the discussions came to an end four days later after the U.S. Treasury and State Department announced blacklisting of some Iranian individuals and companies. The stoppage of talks is likely to be temporary. In fact, one U.S. intelligence source close to the negotiations reported that the talks had actually reached the point where all parties had to go back home to get detailed instructions on how to proceed ahead. The Iranian criticisms of the sanctions on five new companies was more linked to internal policy fighting that has erupted in recent days.
What is of interest here is that Lavrov did not name the United States for setting up the roadblocks. He pointed his finger at the EU. “We are worried by this, and we will try to learn from our EU counterparts what these so-called insurmountable obstacles are because of which the endorsement of the agreement, which everyone has called a historic breakthrough and whose implementation everyone wishes, has in fact been delayed for many weeks,” he said.