UK hopes Biden would start talks with Iran over new deal: ambassador

January 23, 2021 - 22:12

TEHRAN – Stephen Hickey, Britain's ambassador to Iraq, has expressed hope that the new U.S. administration will start talks with Iran about how to strike a new deal with the West Asian country.

In an interview with the Iraqi Rudaw website, Hickey said, “First of all, I would like to say that the UK, as one of the three European signatories, has an important role in the talks about the Iran nuclear deal. We believe that it’s very important to attach importance to that deal. Iran must comply with its obligations under the deal such as the limits on uranium enrichment. We hope the Biden administration would start talks about how to reach a new nuclear deal.”

The British ambassador said that he is upbeat about hammering out such a deal.

“Personally, I am upbeat about reaching a deal. However, it is not the Iranian nuclear program alone that worries Britain and the allied countries in the region, but the Iranian ballistic missile program and Iran's role in the region, especially in Iraq as well,” he pointed out.

Hickey hoped that the Biden administration will deescalate tensions in the region. “I hope that the new administration will be able to reduce the conflicts in the region between Iran and America. We also hope that the start of the dialogue between the three European countries and Iran will be in the coming months or years,” he continued.

U.S. President Joe Biden has expressed willingness to rejoin the Iran nuclear deal – officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) - before and after winning the U.S. presidential election in November. During his election campaign, Biden had said that he would rejoin the JCPOA and use it as a starting point for follow-on negotiations with Iran.

Meanwhile, the European signatories to the JCPOA –France, Germany and the UK (E3) – have called for a new deal with Iran, one that would include Iran’s missile program and its regional activities.

Iran strongly rejected the European calls for a “nuclear agreement plus,” saying its missiles and regional activities are non-negotiable.


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