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Russia criticises US over threat of escalation with Iran at IAEA

VIENNA, AUSTRIA - MAY 7: Russia’s Governor to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Mikhail Ulyanov leaves the Grand Hotel on the day of the ongoing nuclear talks between Iran and major world powers in the Austrian capital Vienna on May 7, 2021. ( Aşkın Kıyağan - Anadolu Agency )
Russia’s Governor to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Mikhail Ulyanov leaves the Grand Hotel on the day of the ongoing nuclear talks between Iran and major world powers in the Austrian capital Vienna on May 7, 2021 [Aşkın Kıyağan - Anadolu Agency]

Russia, on Friday, chided the United States for threatening a diplomatic escalation with Iran at the UN nuclear watchdog next month unless it improves cooperation with the agency, saying it risked harming wider talks on the Iran nuclear deal, Reuters reports.

The United States threatened on Thursday to confront Iran at the International Atomic Energy Agency if it does not give way on at least one of several conflicts with the IAEA, especially its refusal to let the IAEA re-install cameras at a workshop after an apparent attack in June.

"I believe that demonstrates that our American counterparts lose patience but I believe all of us need to control our emotions," Russia's ambassador to the IAEA, Mikhail Ulyanov, told a news conference with his Chinese counterpart.

"I don't welcome this particular statement of the US delegation (at the IAEA). It's not helpful."

READ: Iran calls for lifting sanctions days before nuclear talks begin

Indirect talks between the United States and Iran aimed at reviving the battered 2015 nuclear deal between Tehran and major powers are due to resume on Monday, after a five-month break that started after the election that brought Iranian hard-line President, Ebrahim Raisi, to power.

The 2015 deal lifted sanctions against Iran in exchange for restrictions on its nuclear activities. Then-President Donald Trump pulled Washington out of the agreement in 2018 and re-imposed sanctions against Tehran.

Iran responded by breaching many of the restrictions, reducing the time it would need to obtain enough fissile material for a nuclear bomb if it wanted to. Tehran denies that it would ever seek atomic weapons.

"The US did not negotiate with the Iranians for a very long time and forgot that Iranians don't do anything under pressure. If they are under pressure, they resist," Ulyanov said, apparently referring to the fact that US and Iranian envoys are not meeting directly.

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