British Minister: Iranians have ‘last chance’ to seriously want to save nuclear deal


LIVERPOOL, United Kingdom (AFP) – The G7 said on Sunday that time was running out for Iran to accept a deal to curb its nuclear ambitions and warned Russia of the consequences of the invasion of the Ukraine.

Foreign ministers from the world’s richest countries held a two-day meeting in Liverpool, north-west England, seeking to present a strong, united front against global threats.

On Iran, G7 host Britain said resuming talks in Vienna was “the Islamic Republic’s” last chance to come to the negotiating table with a serious resolution. “

“There is still time for Iran to conclude this agreement,” Foreign Minister Liz Truss told a press conference after the talks ended.

Negotiations resumed Thursday in an attempt to revive the 2015 agreement between Iran and the world powers, from which the United States withdrew under Donald Trump in 2018.

Iran claims it only wants to develop civilian capability, but Western powers say its stockpile of enriched uranium goes way beyond that and could be used to develop a nuclear weapon. Israel is publicly against a return to the deal, and Foreign Minister Yair Lapid met with Truss last month.

A technician works at the uranium conversion facility just outside the city of Isfahan, Iran, 410 kilometers south of the Iranian capital Tehran, February 3, 2007. (AP Photo / Vahid Salemi, file)

US President Joe Biden has said he is ready to reverse the deal and Iranian officials maintain they are serious about engaging in the talks.

But Western powers have accused Tehran of backing down on progress made earlier this year and are playing for time.

Truss’s comments are the first time a signatory to the original deal has issued an ultimatum for the talks.

Constitution of Russian troops

Britain, which cedes the G7 presidency to Germany next year, described the two-day conference in Liverpool, north-west England, as a chance to tackle authoritarianism in the world.

Besides Iran, the strengthening of Russian troops on the border with Ukraine dominated discussions, given fears of a possible invasion of the former Soviet state.

Truss said there was “a very united voice … that there would be massive consequences for Russia in the event of an incursion into Ukraine.”

A group photo at the G7 Foreign and Development Ministers’ summit on the final day of the summit in Liverpool, north-west England, December 12, 2021. (OLIVIER DOULIERY / POOL / AFP)

A senior US State Department official said on Saturday that “a large number of democratic countries” were ready to join the G7 countries of Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the United States to take action.

Biden earlier this week held a virtual summit with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin to voice Western concerns.

Russian President Vladimir Putin is shown speaking with US President Joe Biden via video conference at the Bocharov Ruchei residence in the Black Sea resort of Sochi, Russia on Tuesday December 7, 2021. The video call enters the US President Joe Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin, during which the two leaders are expected to discuss the tensions over Ukraine. (Mikhail Metzel, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool photo via AP)

He is sending his top diplomat for Europe and Eurasian affairs to Kiev and Moscow next week to try to end the standoff through diplomatic means.

Russia says the military build-up is a defensive measure against Ukraine’s rapprochement with NATO.

On Sunday, Pope Francis spoke of Ukraine in front of a crowd in St. Peter’s Square.

“I would like to assure my prayer for dear Ukraine, for all her churches and religious communities and for all her people, that the tensions will henceforth be resolved by a serious international dialogue and not by arms”, he declared after the prayer of the Angelus.

China looms

From Liverpool, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken flies to South East Asia as part of Washington’s campaign for “peace, security and prosperity” in the Indo-Pacific region.

Britain’s G7 presidency this year has been dominated by responding to Beijing’s alleged widespread violations of national rights, as well as rampant authoritarianism in its former colony, Hong Kong.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, wearing a face covering to combat the spread of the coronavirus, arrives for a session of G7 Foreign and Development Ministers with invited countries and ASEAN nations on the final day of the G7 Foreign Ministers’ Summit in Liverpool, northwest England on December 12, 2021 (Anthony Devlin / POOL / AFP)

Earlier this week, a panel of human rights experts and lawyers said China had committed genocide in its Xinjiang region by imposing population controls on minority Muslim Uyghurs.

Beijing rejected the report, accusing it of “anti-Chinese” bias.

Truss said she and her counterparts are concerned about China’s “coercive economic policies” and need to counter them with their own initiatives as an alternative.

“What we want to do is expand the investment reach, the economic trade reach of like-minded freedom-loving democracies,” she added. “This is why we are stepping up our investments in low- and middle-income countries. “

At a meeting of G7 leaders in June in Cornwall, southwest England, the group unveiled plans for what it called a fairer global infrastructure fund than the Chinese initiative “the Belt and the Road”.

China’s trillion dollar program has been widely criticized for imposing unmanageable debt on small countries, especially in Africa.

Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.

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