Regional talks with Europe only focused on Yemen: Iranian diplomat

May 28, 2018 - 19:13

TEHRAN - Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi said on Sunday that Iran has held talks with Europeans just on Yemen and no other issues in the Middle East region.

“No kind of missile talks have been held with the Europeans,” Araqchi said in a televised interview.

“Talks on the regional issues have been just on Yemen for humanitarian reasons and grave economic problems in the country in a mechanism totally separated from the JCPOA [the official name for the Iran nuclear agreement],” he stated.

Commenting on talks with Europeans on the 2015 nuclear deal after the U.S. withdrawal, Araqchi said that the negotiations are “based on actual situation” and “not trust and optimism”.

On Friday, Araqchi held talks with political directors from the E3 (the European Union trio of Germany, France and Britain) on the JCPOA. The meeting, held in Vienna, was chaired by Helga Schmidt, secretary general of the EU's foreign policy service. 

“If we notice that we have come close to our objectives in the JCPOA in the future weeks, we will show flexibility. We have had good progress during the past two weeks, however, it is not acceptable,” he said.

‘Region will not be safe without JCPOA’

The top diplomat noted that the JCPOA is very “vital” for the Europeans, because they know that the region cannot be safe without the JCPOA.

On May 8, U.S. President Donald Trump withdrew from the UN-endorsed nuclear agreement and vowed to reimpose sanctions on Iran.

After the U.S. withdrawal, Iran wants assurances from the remaining parties, especially Europeans, that its interests are guaranteed or it will resume nuclear activities with a higher speed.

“The Europeans wanted us to give them a chance to fulfil Iran’s demands. President [Hassan Rouhani] gave the Europeans opportunity for a few weeks and we are still holding negotiations,” Araqchi stated.

On Wednesday, Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Ali Khamenei issued a set of demands from Europe to save the nuclear deal. He warned that Iran would restart its nuclear activities if Europe failed to act swiftly.

Ayatollah Khamenei said the JCPOA could only continue if the Europeans fulfill these conditions including: Promising not to ask Iran about its ballistic missile program or its regional activities; guaranteeing that Iran’s oil will continue to be sold; and having European banks guarantee financial transactions with Iran.


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