Iran’s Deputy Foreign Minister Ali Baqeri Kani will travel to Brussels in the coming days for talks with the European Union aimed at resuming discussions on the revival of the 2015 nuclear deal, officially called the JCPOA, the Foreign Ministry said on Monday.
“After the talks in Tehran, Baqeri Kani will go to Brussels to discuss outstanding issues,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh told reporters, referring to talks last week in Tehran with EU political director Enrique Mora.
Khatibzadeh only spoke of talks with the EU, which is the JCPOA coordinator, rather than the parties to the nuclear deal – Britain, China, France Russia and Germany – known as the P4+1.
The deal, which gave Iran sanctions relief in return for curbs on its nuclear activities, has been on life support since former US president Donald Trump’s withdrawal in 2018, which was followed by Washington reimposing sanctions on Tehran, AFP wrote.
Talks got underway in Vienna in April in a bid to revive the deal, after Trump’s successor President Joe Biden signaled a willingness to come back on board. But they have been suspended since June when Iran held presidential elections that resulted in Seyyed Ebrahim Raeisi wining the vote.
The US has only participated indirectly in the Vienna talks.
Josep Borrell, the EU’s top diplomat, said on Monday he hoped the bloc and Iranian diplomats would meet soon to discuss a potential resumption of the JCPOA revival talks.
“Things are getting better and I am hopeful we will have preparatory meetings in Brussels in the days to come,” Borrell said in Luxembourg as he arrived for an EU foreign ministers meeting, Reuters reported.
“You never know, I am more optimistic today than yesterday.”
But a spokeswoman for the bloc said there will not be a meeting in Brussels on Thursday.
“At this stage we cannot confirm if or when a meeting will take place,” spokeswoman Nabila Massrali told AFP on Monday.
No pre-conditions set
Khatibzadeh said on Monday that the meeting in Brussels could be an “effective step forward” to resume stalled talks in Vienna.
He pointed to “challenges” in the Vienna talks, in a veiled reference to Washington’s refusal to take any meaningful step to lift sanctions on Tehran.
The spokesman emphasized that Tehran has set “no pre-conditions” for the resumption of the Vienna talks, but stressed that the talks should not be “for the sake of talks” or amounting to “a waste of time”.
Khatibzadeh said Baqeri Kani will publicly discuss issues about the challenges and obstacles in the talks, Press TV wrote.
He reiterated that the US must uphold its commitments as stipulated in the nuclear deal, noting that no practical steps have been taken so far by Washington.
The spokesman said the Biden administration is continuing the former administration’s “maximum pressure campaign” against Iran and that there has been “no change in its policies”.
In response to a question about Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian’s statement made on Sunday that the US must take “serious steps” before the resumption of talks in Vienna, Khatibzadeh said the remarks are an “expression of logic” and do not imply any message to the Americans.
He called on the US to “reconsider its policy” toward Iran and “show it in practice” by removing the draconian sanctions and returning to the deal as well as guaranteeing that the agreement won’t be breached again.
Pointing to the futility of the US sanctions, the spokesman said Washington thought the sanctions would bring about the collapse of Iran’s economic system but the country has not only been “able to absorb the pressure” but the gross domestic product (GDP) has also seen a positive tilt this year.