EU Envoy To Visit Iran, Raise ‘Urgency’ To Resume Nuclear Talks

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The top European diplomat coordinating international talks to revive the 2015 nuclear with Iran is traveling to Iran to push for a resumption of nuclear talks that have stalled amid a change of government in Iran.

Enrique Mora said on Twitter on October 13 that he will raise “the urgency” to resume nuclear talks in Vienna.

“Crucial to pick up talks from where we left last June to continue diplomatic work,” Mora said, noting that his trip comes “at a critical point in time.”

Deputy Foreign Minister Ali Bagheri Kani, who is expected to lead Iran’s new negotiating team, confirmed that he would meet Mora.

“Exchanging views on bilateral & regional issues including Afghanistan, as well as talks on removal of cruel sanctions, are on the agenda,” Bagheri Kani said on Twitter on October 13.

Mora’s trip to Tehran comes amid mounting pressure from EU countries as well as the United States for a swift resumption of talks on the revival of the nuclear agreement, which restricted Iran’s sensitive nuclear activities in exchange for sanctions relief.

Tehran has said repeatedly that it is ready to resume talks “soon,” while being vague about the time frame.

Diplomats from Britain, France, and Germany were quoted by Reuters as saying that Mora’s visit cannot be considered “business as usual” given the worsening nuclear situation on the ground.

“The visit comes at an important time, as the Vienna talks on a full return to the JCPOA have now been suspended by Iran for almost four months,” the diplomats from said in a note.

“The situation in the nuclear field has been worsening and worsening continuously since then. For this reason, we do not see this visit as ‘business as usual,’ but rather as a crucial visit in the crisis.”

“The European capitals, including Berlin…must give their clear assurance to the Islamic republic that this time, no party will violate the nuclear deal,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh told reporters on October 12, referring to the 2018 withdrawal from the deal by former U.S. President Donald Trump, who reimposed tough economic sanctions on Iran.

Tehran reacted by gradually decreasing its commitments under the accord known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

U.S. President Joe Biden has signaled a willingness to return to the deal if Tehran returns to full commitment.

Speaking on October 13, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken warned that “time is running short” for Iran to return to compliance with the 2015 deal and that Washington would look at every option to deal with the challenge posed by Tehran.

“We are getting close to a point at which returning to compliance with the JCPOA will not in and of itself recapture the benefits of the JCPOA and that’s because Iran has been using this time to advance its nuclear program in a variety of ways,” Blinken said.

Talks in Vienna between Iran and the remaining parties to the agreement — Britain, China, France, Germany and Russia — have been on hold since a June election in Iran that brought to power hard-line cleric Ebrahim Raisi.

Raisi has stressed the need for sanctions to be lifted through diplomatic means amid concerns that his negotiating team could make new demands. Mora attended Raisi’s inauguration in August.

With reporting by AFP and Reuters

News – Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty

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