EU envoy visits Iran to discuss removal of US sanctions
EU deputy foreign policy chief Enrique Mora has arrived in Tehran on Thursday to discuss, among other things, the future of the Vienna nuclear talks to remove the illegal US sanctions against Iran.
Heading a delegation, Mora held a meeting with Iran’s Deputy Foreign Minister Ali Baqeri-Kani.
High on the agenda of the meeting is bilateral, regional and international issues, including Iran’s relations with the European Union, the issue of Afghanistan, and the efforts to remove US sanctions and revive the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, officially called the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).
Both diplomats announced their meeting a day earlier via their Twitter accounts.
“In line with recent regional and international consultations, I will host @eu_eeas Deputy Secretary General @enriquemora_ on Thursday. Exchanging views on bilateral & regional issues including Afghanistan, as well as talks on removal of cruel sanctions are on the agenda,” Baqeri-Kani wrote.
“As coordinator of the JCPOA, I will raise the urgency to resume #JCPOA negotiations in Vienna. Crucial to pick up talks from where we left last June to continue diplomatic work,” Mora tweeted.
Iran and the other parties to the JCPOA have held six rounds of talks in Vienna, which began after US President Joe Biden voiced willingness to rejoin the nuclear agreement, three years after the Donald Trump administration unilaterally withdrew the US from the deal and reinstated crippling sanctions on the Islamic Republic.
While disagreements on key issues persisted, the participants took a break from the talks after Ebrahim Raeisi emerged victorious in Iran’s June presidential election, and waited for Iran’s democratic transition to take place to continue the talks.
The scope of the sanctions removal and the need for the US to guarantee that it would not ditch the JCPOA again are among the key issues not settled during the administration of former Iranian President Hassan Rouhani.
In recent weeks, there has been mounting pressure on Tehran to return to the negotiating table. The Raeisi administration has announced on several occasions that it will resume the talks only to remove all of Washington's illegal sanctions and that it will not take part in negotiations for the sake of negotiations.
The Thursday meeting came a day after US Secretary of State Antony Blinken warned of “other options” if Iran doesn’t change course, referring to Tehran’s scaling down its obligations as a legitimate response under the JCPOA against the US withdrawal from the deal.
Iran has also been critical of the Europeans for their failure to shield business with Tehran in the face of US sanctions.