Russian envoy: "Turkey-and Brazil-brokered swap deal with Iran is still on the table"
Russia, which holds the rotating term presidency of the UN Security Council this month, yesterday gave clear support to restarting negotiations on a nuclear swap deal brokered by Turkey and Brazil with Iran in May. Russia's UN Ambassador Vitaly Churkin told reporters that useful exchanges of views on the swap deal were being conducted in various capitals. Expressing hope that negotiations on Iran's nuclear program and the swap deal would resume soon, Churkin stressed the importance of two diplomatic steps to this end. "One of these steps is to ensure the resumption of nuclear talks between Iran and the P5 plus 1," meaning the five permanent veto-wielding members of the UN Security Council and Germany, he said. "The latter is the nuclear swap fuel deal that Turkey and Brazil brokered with Iran." He added that diplomacy is still working to solve the Iranian nuclear issue. In related news, the US Treasury yesterday blacklisted 21 more companies from six countries doing business with Iran as part of sanctions imposed on Tehran for its nuclear program. Iran criticized the new sanctions, warning that they could damage diplomatic efforts to solve the controversy over the program.