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Iran nuclear talks Day 1: Russian calls Congress an obstacle to a deal

On the first day of renewed talks on Iran's nuclear program, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said sanctions should be eased, terming Congress's firm stance toward Iran 'excessive.'

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Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov (c.) attends a meeting of President Vladimir Putin with the new cabinet in the Kremlin in Moscow, on May 21.

Alexei Druzhinin/Government Press Service/RIA-Novosti/AP

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The view is not a new one: that resistance in the US Congress to any kind of compromise with Iran would be the highest hurdle President Obama faced in negotiating a deal with Iran on its nuclear program.

But that perspective burst out onto the international diplomatic stage Wednesday as Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov chose the delicate moment of renewed talks between Iran and world powers to publicly advise President Obama to resist congressional pressures in order to make a diplomatic solution on Iran’s nuclear program possible.

“I hope this excessive stance by the US lawmakers will ultimately meet a responsible attitude by the US administration and the US president,” Mr. Lavrov said at a Moscow press conference.

Referring to new unilateral sanctions the US Senate approved this week, Lavrov said, “As Iran takes a step toward the global community, the world community should take steps for weaker sanctions against Iran.”

China also said this week that now, during crucial talks, is no time to be adding to the sanctions on Iran.

Talks between Iran and world powers got under way Wednesday in Baghdad, where early signs emerged that Western objections to quickly easing economic sanctions on Iran under any circumstances were dampening prospects for a breakthrough.

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