Nuclear negotiations between Iran and world powers were suspended on Friday after Russia reportedly upended the talks by raising objections to its participation while under U.S. sanctions over its invasion of Ukraine, reported The Washington Post.

Josep Borrell Fontelles, the High Representative of the E.U. for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, wrote on Twitter that the talks in Vienna have been placed on “pause,” citing “external factors.”

“A final text is essentially ready and on the table,” he said. “As coordinator, I will, with my team, continue to be in touch with all #JCPOA participants and the U.S. to overcome the current situation and to close the agreement.”

Talks between Iran and the P5+1 (the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Russia, China and Germany), as well as the European Union, have gone through several rounds over the past year. Many expected this latest round to be the final attempt to bring Iran back into compliance with the 2015 Joint Coordinated Plan of Action (JCPOA).

Under the agreement, the United States would be expected to lift sanctions imposed by the Trump administration after it withdrew from the deal in May 2018, and Iran would be required to return to compliance with the deal and rollback advances it has made to its nuclear program.

Reports indicated that a deal was imminent with even a podium for the final ceremonies already erected in Vienna’s Palais Coburg hotel, where the talks had been held.

On Thursday, U.S. State Department spokesperson Ned Price said that a new agreement was “close,” adding that “it’s really down to a very small number of outstanding issues.”

It remains unclear if the suspension could ultimately doom chances for the deal to be revived.

JNS

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