Iran blames U.S. actions for break in nuclear talks

Dec. 13, 2013 at 1:32 PM   |   0 comments

VIENNA, Dec. 13 (UPI) -- The expansion of a U.S. Treasury blacklist of Iranian companies jeopardizes an agreement on Iran's nuclear program, an Iranian official said Friday.

About a dozen organizations and individuals were added to the list, the Wall Street Journal reported. They allegedly helped the Iranian government obtain military supplies and avoid the effect of sanctions.

The Iranian delegation broke off talks with the United States and five other countries and returned to Tehran, the official Islamic Republic News Agency said.

The so-called expert-level delegates, meeting since Monday at the Vienna headquarters of U.N. nuclear watchdog International Atomic Energy Agency, halted the talks on enforcement mechanisms to return to Tehran for consultations Thursday night. The delegation was led by Iranian Foreign Ministry political and legal affairs Director General Hamid Baeidinejad.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, speaking to reporters in Tel Aviv, said he expected the Iranians to return within a few days, the Journal 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," Kerry said.

Stephen Clement, leading the talks for EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton on behalf of the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany, had no immediate comment.

House and Senate lawmakers agreed Thursday not to vote on new sanctions this year, following a White House campaign to stall legislative action for at least six months while the United States, Britain, France, Russia, China and Germany negotiate a comprehensive deal over Tehran's nuclear program.

Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif told Time magazine in an interview published Monday any new sanctions would kill a comprehensive deal.

The talks in the Austrian capital were part of an interim six-month deal reached Nov. 24 in Geneva, Switzerland, calling for Iran to halt production of near-weapons-grade nuclear fuel in exchange for some relief from economic sanctions amounting to $6 billion to $7 billion.

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