Tehran, EU to resume high-level talks on Monday

February 8, 2016 - 0:0

TEHRAN – A senior Iranian diplomat said on Sunday that Iran and the European Union will start high-level talks on Monday with a visit to Tehran by Helga Schmidt, the deputy of EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini, an a team of EU experts.

Majid Takht-Ravanchi, the deputy foreign minister for European and American affair, said the talks will be held regularly every six months in Brussels and Tehran.

The talks will include issues such as cooperation in areas of trade, energy, finance, banking, environment and campaign against drug trafficking.

“Regional issues will also be on the agenda. Issues such as fight against terrorism and extremism” which have created serious headaches for regional countries and the consequences of which have reached Europe too, the diplomat explained.

The crises in Iraq, Yemen, Syria and other conflict-hit regions will also feature in the talks, he added.

“These talks will help bring ideas close together,” the head of the Iranian negotiating team with Europeans said.

-------Iran, EU to review implementation of JCPOA

Takht-Ravanchi said the presence of Schmidt in Tehran will provide a good opportunity to reassess the process of the implementation of the nuclear deal, officially known as the JCPOA.

He said Abass Araqchi, who acted as a senior nuclear negotiator with great powers and is now the chairman of the committee for monitoring the implementation of the JCPOA, will study the quality of the implementation of the JCPOA with Schmidt.

The July 2015 nuclear deal went into effect on January 16.

The deputy foreign minister said after this round of talks between Iran and the EU a number of EU commissioners, top among them EU foreign policy chief, will also visit Iran.

Mogherini said on Saturday that she is preparing to visit Iran following the implementation of a landmark nuclear deal between Tehran with world powers. She said there was no set date, but that preparations with Tehran were well underway.

She also insisted all 28 EU nations were backing the opening with Iran.

Speaking after a meeting of EU foreign ministers, she said, “It was very important to see the unity of the member states in the direction, intentions and preparations of this work we are doing with Iran.”

Mogherini said she would also host Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif in Brussels around the middle of the month.

------- Zarif to visit Belgium next week

Takht-Ravanchi also said Zarif will visit Belgium next week for a series of talks with Belgian and EU officials.

On a report that three U.S. Republican Congressmen have applied for a visa to visit Iran with the aim of monitoring the next month’s parliamentary election in Iran, he said this is a “worthless” issue which does not deserve attention because they are seeking a political and propagandistic purpose by this gesture.

“We will not allow anybody or any country to interfere in the internal affairs of the country and we have proved this in action,” the deputy foreign minister remarked.

------We welcome consultation with Germans

He also said Iran enjoys good relationship with Germany at different levels.

“During nuclear talks we had good contacts with the German team.”

German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier visited Iran last week with an effort to discuss bilateral relations and help deescalate tension between Iran and Saudi Arabia.

Takht-Ravanchi said the German side said it was not seeking to mediate between Iran and Saudi Arabia and Iran also thinks that there is no need for such as mediation.

However, he said, “we will continue our consultations” with the Germans.