News ID: 291452
Published: 0406 GMT March 08, 2021

Irish FM welcomes historic window of opportunity to Iran nuclear deal

Irish FM welcomes historic window of opportunity to Iran nuclear deal

Irish Foreign Minister Simon Coveney said that there is a historic window of opportunity to return to dialogue and agree a path back to the Iran nuclear agreement.

He made the remarks following his trip to Iran and his meeting with Iranian officials on Sunday, according to IRNA.

Coveney met with President Hassan Rouhani and Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif in Tehran where they discussed the 2015 Iran deal and other issues.

The deal, known formally as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), has been hanging by a thread since former US president Donald Trump unilaterally withdrew from it in 2018 and reimposed “toughest ever” sanctions on Tehran.

Following Joe Biden's US presidential election victory in November, the US, the European parties to the deal – France, Germany and Britain – and Tehran have been trying to salvage the accord.

“As Facilitator for UN Security Council Resolution 2231, which underpins the Iranian nuclear deal, the JCPOA, it was a particular priority for me to visit Tehran early in Ireland’s tenure on the Security Council”, the Irish official said in a statement on Monday.

“This is a crucial moment for the JCPOA … Ireland encourages all parties to return to full compliance with the JCPOA. There is a historic window of opportunity to return to dialogue and agree a path back to the agreement”, he said.

Coveney also said that he had the opportunity to discuss a number of issues on the Security Council agenda with Zarif, including Yemen, Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq and the Middle East Peace Process.

“I emphasized Ireland’s full support to the work of UN Special Envoy for Yemen, Martin Griffiths, and the importance that we attach to all parties agreeing to a negotiated solution to the conflict. It is unacceptable that 24 million Yemenis are in need of humanitarian assistance and that half of Yemeni children under five suffer from acute malnutrition.”

The Irish foreign minister said that he highlighted the need for progress in Syria, under the terms of Security Council Resolution 2254.

“We discussed Afghanistan, where Ireland and Iran share concerns at the increase in violence in recent months and urge all parties to the negotiations to renew their commitment to making progress on a comprehensive peace deal,” he added.

Coveney said that both sides also welcomed the forthcoming Palestinian elections and the importance of all parties engaging in a constructive and transparent manner. 

President Hassan Rouhani on Sunday urged Europe to avoid "threats or pressure" in any negotiations with Tehran, as he received Ireland's foreign minister amid diplomatic efforts to revive a landmark nuclear deal.

Rouhani criticized Europe's "inactivity on JCPOA commitments" and added that Iran is committed to "preserving the JCPOA and is the only party that has paid a price for it".

The three European parties to the nuclear deal on Thursday scrapped a draft resolution at the UN's International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) that criticized Iran's suspension of some nuclear inspections, a move welcomed by Tehran.

Biden has signaled his readiness to revive the deal, but insists Iran first return to all its nuclear commitments, most of which it suspended in response to the US sanctions.

Tehran meanwhile demands Washington take the first step by scrapping the sanctions.

Iran on February 23 started to restrict some IAEA inspections.

But a visit to Tehran by the UN nuclear watchdog chief Rafael Grossi just before the restriction came into force led to an interim technical deal for up to three months.

Ireland is not party to the nuclear deal, but currently sits on the UN Security Council.

As facilitator for resolution 2231 – the UNSC resolution enshrining the nuclear deal – Dublin is tasked with keeping other council members briefed with implementation of the deal.




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