Irish foreign minister set to meet Iranian president to discuss JCPOA

March 6, 2021 - 17:2

TEHRAN - Simon Coveney, the Irish Minister for Foreign Affairs, is travelling to Tehran on Saturday to meet with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani for discussions on the stalled nuclear deal between Iran and the EU and the countries of the UN Security Council, according to the Irish Times.

The minister will discuss the Iran nuclear deal as part of Ireland’s role on the UN Security Council, the Irish Times wrote. 

The visit, which is related to Ireland’s Security Council role, comes amid signs that the Iran nuclear deal (known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or JCPOA), which stalled after it was repudiated by former U.S. President Donald Trump, could be revived under the Biden administration.

The trip comes days after the government announced that it will reopen Ireland’s embassy in Tehran and will see Coveney discuss wider Middle East (West Asia) issues with Rouhani and Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif.

But officials said the main focus would be on the stalled nuclear deal. Concluded in 2015 between Iran and the five permanent members of the Security Council – the U.S., UK, China, Russia, and France – plus Germany and the EU, the deal saw Iran agree to inspections to verify its nuclear program was purely for peaceful purposes in return for a removal of sanctions against the country.

The deal impeded in recent years after the U.S. walked away and reinstated sanctions. 

However, Biden has indicated his desire to restart the deal and in recent days there have been indications that informal talks could begin next month.

One of Ireland’s roles on the Security Council is as “facilitator” for the resolution, which approved the nuclear deal in 2015, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.

In a statement issued on Friday night, Coveney noted, “Ireland is a strong supporter of the JCPOA. In our role as facilitator, Ireland is keen to maintain a close dialogue with all actors, and encourage all parties to return to full compliance with the agreement.”
 
“The visit will also be a valuable opportunity to discuss the JCPOA, along with other key issues in the Middle East (West Asia), many of which feature on the agenda of the Security Council,” he added. 
 
“This visit also comes at an important moment in our bilateral relationship, following the decision of the Government this week to designate a Chargé d’Affaires to Tehran, and to work towards the re-establishment of an Irish Embassy in Tehran by 2023,” he remarked. 

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