Russia’s Foreign Minister accused international mediators in the Iran crisis of "behaving like little children," imploring them to set a date for negotiations over Tehran’s nuclear program.
"Some of our partners in the six powers and the Iranian side cannot come to an agreement about where to meet," Sergey Lavrov told reporters after talks with Belgian Foreign Minister Didier Reynders on Monday.
The hawkish government of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu continues to beat the drum for a military offensive against Iran, at the same time that US naval forces are silently building up forces in the Persian Gulf.
On Sunday, in a speech marking International Holocaust Day, Netanyahu once again accused Tehran of plotting “the destruction of the Jewish state."
The Israeli leader, recently reelected to his leadership position by a narrow margin, declared that his government’s main priority is to ensure that Iran never acquires nuclear weapons.
Tehran, which is bearing the brunt of a harsh international sanctions regime, insists that its nuclear energy research is for peaceful purposes.
It is within this tense environment that Russian diplomats are working to ensure that “common sense will prevail” in the escalating standoff, but this will require that both sides “stop behaving like little children," Lavrov declared.
Arguing that the “essence of our talks” is far more important (than the site), Lavrov emphasized that Russian mediators “are willing to meet at any location.”
In June, Iran and the five permanent members of the UN Security Council – Russia, Britain, China, France, the United States, plus Germany – met for talks in Moscow to little avail.
Another round of negotiations had been expected to take place in January, but those plans collapsed.
Lavrov called the latest breakdown in the negotiation process between Tehran and the international mediators “unsatisfactory.”
“The meeting has really been adjourned and, to my big disappointment, I deem the cause of this delay absolutely unsatisfactory," the minister said.