Nuclear dossier: impromptu visit to Iran by the head of EU diplomacy

This surprise visit was announced by the spokesperson for the Iranian Foreign Ministry, Said Khatibzadeh, and confirmed by the EU.

It comes as the talks launched in Vienna in April 2021 between Iran and the major powers (Russia, United States, China, France, United Kingdom and Germany) have been stalled since last March.

The talks aim to try to reintegrate the United States into the 2015 agreement providing for limitations on Iran’s nuclear program, denounced in 2018 by former US President Donald Trump, and to bring Iran back to full compliance with its commitments. dictated by this agreement.

The 2015 pact called the JCPOA granted Iran, accused of seeking nuclear weapons despite its denials, relief from suffocating international economic sanctions in exchange for restrictions on its nuclear program. However, the Trump administration had also reinstated American sanctions, provoking the ire of Iran.

The United States, a sworn enemy of Iran with which it has not had diplomatic relations since 1980, participated indirectly in the negotiations in Vienna, via the EU. Tehran and Washington accuse each other of the blockage.

“Mr. Borrell will visit Tehran on Friday evening to meet with Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian and other Iranian officials,” the foreign affairs spokesman said in a statement.

“The visit is part of the ongoing consultations between Iran and the EU. It will focus on bilateral relations, some regional and international issues, as well as the progress of negotiations for the lifting of sanctions,” according to the press release.

The EU confirmed in a press release the visit on June 24 and 25 of Mr. Borrell to Iran “as part of the ongoing efforts to return to full application” of the 2015 agreement.

“Fatal blow”

Enrique Mora, the EU negotiator in charge of coordinating the Iranian nuclear talks, posted on Twitter on Thursday evening a photo of a dinner in Brussels between himself, Josep Borrell and the US special envoy for Iran. , Robert Malley, with this caption: “In-depth conversation on the JCPOA and regional perspectives in the Middle East. Malley reaffirmed the American commitment to return to the agreement”.

The American administration of Joe Biden has declared that it wants to return to the agreement, provided that Tehran resumes its commitments, while Iran previously demands the lifting of sanctions.

On Thursday, Hossein Amir-Abdollahian said his country “seriously” hoped to reach an agreement with the major powers, including the United States, after a meeting with his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov in Tehran. He called on Washington to “be realistic”.

At the beginning of June, Iran disconnected some of the surveillance cameras of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) on its nuclear sites, after the United States and the Europeans had a resolution passed at the IAEA denouncing Tehran’s lack of cooperation.

But Iran immediately said that all these measures were “reversible”, if an agreement was reached in Vienna.

After Iran disabled surveillance cameras, IAEA Director General Rafael Grossi said if the blockage persists, “in three or four weeks” the IAEA will no longer be able to provide the necessary information monitoring Iran’s nuclear program.

According to him, this would “deal a fatal blow” to the 2015 agreement.

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