The Mehr News Agency reports that in reaction to the U.S. blacklisting of additional companies due to their connections with Iran, the Iranian delegation has called a halt to technical talks in Vienna with the 5+1 over implementation of the earlier Geneva agreement and returned to Iran.

Mehr quotes “an informed source” saying the new sanctions were counter to the directions of the agreement and were the main reason for the withdrawal of the Iranian negotiating team.

Iranian chief negotiator Abbas Araqchi told IRNA today December 13 that they are assessing the US move and in the process of deciding on the appropriate course of action.

The technical talks with the 5+1 began on Monday December 9 in Vienna, and  Araqchi had announced at the time that at the end of these talks, the date for the commencement of the first steps and the mechanism for the bilateral actions would be announced.

Russia has echoed Iranian concerns about the U.S. move and its effect on the Geneva deal. A spokeswoman for the Russian Foreign Ministry said: “The U.S. administration's decision goes against the spirit of this document. Widening American 'blacklists' could seriously complicate the fulfillment of the Geneva agreement, which proposes easing sanctions pressure."

On Wednesday, Washington blacklisted several companies and individuals, including: Singapore-based Mid Oil Asia and Singa Tankers, with both companies accused of helping Iran transfer funds to a foreign bank on behalf of the National Iranian Tanker Company; and Ukrainian national Vitaly Sokolenko and his Odessa-based firm Ferland Company Limited, accused of helping to broker the sale of Iranian oil and transfer the crude ship-to-ship.