France warned Russia Monday not to resort to blackmail in Iran nuclear talks by demanding a US guarantee that Ukraine sanctions would not hurt its trade with Tehran.

Iran’s foreign ministry spokesperson Saeed Khatibzadeh said Iran was awaiting an explanation of the Russian demand via "diplomatic channels", adding however that the talks should not be affected by sanctions imposed on Moscow, whose contribution to negotiations so far had been “constructive.”

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Saturday that Moscow wanted a written US guarantee that Russia's trade, investment and military-technical cooperation with Iran would not be hindered by Western sanctions imposed since Russia invaded Ukraine.

On Saturday, a senior Iranian official speaking to Reuters had called Russia's move unconstructive.

Russia's Ambassador to Tehran Levan Dzhagaryan said on Monday Moscow plans to give Iran an explanation of the guarantees it has requested.

A French presidency official told reporters that diplomats tended to treat each issue on its merits and not conflating them.

"Because otherwise, in reality, it's just blackmail and not diplomacy," he told reporters.

Western officials say compartmentalizing the Iran nuclear dossier has been possible due to a common

A European diplomat added: "The Russians are really trying it on and the Iranians aren’t happy although of course not saying too much publicly. We’re trying to find a way through.",

Iran's top security official Ali Shamkhani said on Monday that negotiators were evaluating new components that had affected the Vienna talks and that Iran was adapting initiatives to accelerate an agreement.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken sought on Sunday to dispel talk of obstacles, saying the sanctions imposed on Russia over Ukraine had nothing to do with the nuclear deal. Lavrov’s statement on Saturday, however, went farther than Russia’s role in facilitating a nuclear deal with Iran as he demanded a US waiver from Ukraine sanctions in all its dealings with Tehran.

Wall Street Journal, cited a “western diplomat” Saturday that Lavrov might be “using this as a play to try to carve a huge hole out of the overall Ukraine sanctions.” This would be “a different story,” the diplomat suggested, from guarantees simply over work directly linked to a restored JCPOA.

Diplomats said Washington and Tehran were also still trying to resolve other outstanding issues, which were also stalling an agreement.

European negotiators have temporarily left the talks as they believe they have gone as far as they can and it is now up to the two main protagonists to agree, three diplomats said.

With reporting by Reuters

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