Iran, EU agree to continue talks in Brussels

October 15, 2021 - 18:23

TEHRAN – Iran and the European Union have agreed to continue talks in Brussels over the possibility of Iran and world powers resuming the stalled Vienna nuclear talks.

The agreement was achieved during a visit by Deputy Director of the EU Action Service Enrique Mora to Tehran on Thursday amid ongoing tensions between Iran and the West over when to resume the Vienna talks.

Mora, who traveled to Tehran to discuss bilateral relations, regional issues, including developments in Afghanistan and Yemen, as well as talks on lifting sanctions on Iran, met with Ali Bagheri, the Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister for Political Affairs.

Bagheri emphasized that Iran has always proved to be a responsible player in the international arena, while the behavior of the other side shows that it is far from being a responsible player. He added that the side showing more responsibility is closer to the negotiating table.

Bagheri noted that achieving tangible results is important for Iran, saying Tehran is always ready for serious negotiations that result in a practical agreement and not merely a paper agreement, according to the Iranian foreign ministry.

He pointed out that there are serious doubts about the real will of the United States to fulfill its obligations. Bagheri also criticized the inaction of the European parties in fulfilling their obligations under the Iran nuclear deal and stressed the need for them to act responsibly.

Mora explained his task as the EU coordinator, announcing his readiness to cooperate with Iran and other parties in order to continue negotiations to achieve a result acceptable to all parties.

In the meeting, the two officials also emphasized the promotion of relations between Iran and the EU, and it was agreed that in the forthcoming talks in Brussels, the topics and practical areas for the expansion of ties would be discussed.

Bagheri also stressed the need for the European Union to take responsibility for important issues in the region, including the developments in Afghanistan, especially in relation to the humanitarian situation of the Afghan people including the displaced and refugees.

Regarding the plight of the Yemeni people, including women and children, the Iranian deputy foreign minister also called on the EU to pay serious attention to their situation and fulfill its duties to end the humanitarian tragedy.

In the end, the two sides agreed that the consultations between them on issues of mutual interest would continue in the coming days in Brussels, the Iranian foreign ministry said.

Earlier, Iran's Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh said the trip follows consultations between the two sides on issues of mutual interest, including Iran-European Union relations, Afghanistan and the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), the official name for the 2015 nuclear deal.

He pointed out that consultations and contacts between the two sides have never been halted and are constantly ongoing on different issues, and this trip also takes place in the same framework, the foreign ministry spokesman explained.

In parallel with these consultations, the Speaker of the Swiss National Assembly Andreas Aebi paid a visit to Iran recently to discuss bilateral relations and exchange views over regional and international issues.

During his meeting with Aebi, Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian explained the new Iranian government's view on the resumption of the Vienna talks, saying Iran will finalize its conclusions in this regard in the near future. He said in future talks, Iran’s actions will be commensurate with the level of actions of the other parties.

Regarding the nuclear talks, the speaker of the Swiss National Assembly stressed his country's interest in playing a role in bringing the parties' views closer together.

Mora had underlined the urgency to resume the Vienna talks before his visit to Iran. “Travelling to Tehran where I will meet my counterpart at a critical point in time. As coordinator of the JCPOA, I will raise the urgency to resume #JCPOA negotiations in Vienna. Crucial to pick up talks from where we left last June to continue diplomatic work,” he said on Twitter. 

Western media claimed that Iran had told Mora that it is in the process of finalizing its negotiating team. “According to source, Iran told @enriquemora_ it is still finalizing steps to complete negotiating team but reiterated their decision that they will come back to Vienna talks. ‘They are absolutely decided to go back to Vienna and to end (complete) the negotiations,’ source say,” Laurence Norman, The Wall Street Journal correspondent in Brussels, said on Twitter. 

He added, “The talks at the end of October in Brussels with Iran will be EU-Iran only, source says. Iran will have other bilateral talks. Idea is to ‘go through all the texts put on the table’ in Vienna to discuss and clarify with the new Iran team ‘different questions they will have’.” 

Iran has said that it will soon return to Vienna but it is yet to set a specific date for the resumption of Vienna talks.

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