Borrell says negotiations will take place in a Persian Gulf country

Iran says nuclear talks to lift sanctions will resume soon

June 25, 2022 - 16:26

TEHRAN – Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian announced on Saturday that Iran is ready to resume nuclear talks to lift sanctions on Iran by reviving the 2015 nuclear deal, officially called the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

Amir Abdollahian said the decision was made after detailed and in-depth talks with Josep Borrell, the EU foreign policy chief.

“The talks to remove the sanctions imposed on Iran will be resumed soon," Amir Abdollahian said in a joint press conference with Borrell.

Amir Abdollahian added, “Today we had long and positive talks about cooperation between Iran and the European Union. We are seeking balanced relations in the area of foreign policy and in this relationship the European Union and European countries have an important position. We are seeking to develop our relations with different countries on the European continent.”

Amir Abdollahian also said Borrell in a phone call had asked him how the EU could follow up on the stalemate that became more complicated after the anti-Iran resolution submitted to the International Atomic Energy Agency’s Board of Governors.

The foreign minister then said Borrell sought to get his opinion on how to get out of this stalemate.

The chief diplomat said if Tehran's dividends from the nuclear deal are not guaranteed it will not be acceptable.  

“What is important for the Islamic Republic of Iran is the full economic benefit of Iran from the agreement reached in 2015, and any issue that cannot guarantee our full economic benefit will not be acceptable to the government of Ayatollah Raisi and the Islamic Republic of Iran,” Iran’s top diplomat noted.

For his part, Borrell said, “My visit to Tehran has one main objective: give new momentum to the negotiations and bring the nuclear deal, JCPOA, back on track.”

Borrel says he cannot conceive of “regional security without Iran”.

He added that as the coordinator of the talks to revive the JCPOA, he felt that a break in the negotiations was necessary.

“Since I paused the Vienna talks, three months have passed. We need to break the current dynamic of escalation and speed up our work. We need to close the deal now,” the chief EU diplomat said, adding that the resumption of talks is a decision made by both Tehran and Washington.

Borrell said in the meeting with the Iranian foreign minister the two sides agreed on “resumption of negotiations between Iran and U.S. in the coming days, facilitated by my team, to solve the last outstanding issues.”

He added, “Our bilateral relations have enormous potential but without a working JCPOA we cannot fully develop our relationship.” 

The EU foreign policy chief added that in such an environment the conclusion of this landmark agreement is more important than ever.

“The world needs security and stability. And the world will be a much secure place if we have a deal that can ensure for Iran full benefits, full economic benefits of the agreement, and at the same time to address the concerns of the international community about non-proliferation, global security and regional stability,” Borrell noted.

Borrell went on to elaborate on the European Union’s view of Iran.

“It is our thinking and our new approach - of the European Union - with respect to the (Persian) Gulf region. We are offering to the countries in the region a new and much deeper relationship, based on a broad agenda that includes the global issues - green transition, digital transition, but also trade and regional security. And I cannot conceive such, as a regional approach, without you, without Iran. Nobody can talk about the stability in the Gulf region without taking into account Iran - the biggest country in the region and a great potential provider of energy. But for that, again, we need to go back to the full implementation of the JCPOA,” Borrell noted.

‘I appreciate the goodwill from the Iranian side’

Later in a press conference in Espinas Hotel attended by Western journalists, Borrel told reporters that “immediately after this meeting (in Tehran), the negotiations will restart.”

However, he went to say that “I cannot tell you a precise date on what is happening next week. I have to test the temperature of the next meeting. We are pushing for it. I appreciate the goodwill from the Iranian side. There is also goodwill from the American side. They are happy I am here.”

Borrell called preparation for talks a “cumulative process”, saying, “First, the delegations had to go back to the capitals to receive guidelines. guidelines were delayed.”

Borrell blamed the Ukraine war and resolution by the IAEA Board of Governors against Iran for a delay in resuming talks.

“The world needs security and stability. And the world will be a much secure place if we have a deal that can ensure for Iran full benefits, full economic benefits of the agreement (JCPOA).”

“The Ukraine war and the (IAEA) resolution prolonged the resumption of talks. I got in touch with my Iranian and American counterparts and told them if this continues, the game is over. I don't want the deal to be derailed.”

He also said, “The U.S. and Iran will talk – not directly – with a facilitation by me and my team as coordinator.”

According to the EU’s Borrell, the discussions between U.S., Iran and the E3 will not take place in Vienna. Rather, he said, the talks will take place "somewhere nearer to the Persian Gulf." To be specific, he added, in a Persian Gulf country.

Though he did not mention that name of the country, most probably Oman will host the negotiations. Qatar is also a likely host for the talks.

Both Oman and Qatar have been seeking to bring the nuclear talks to a conclusion.

Ali Bagheri Kani, Iran’s top nuclear negotiator, and Enrique Mora, EU’s coordinator were also present at the meeting.

EU coordinator says negotiations will likely resume next week

In response to Tehran Times’ request for a brief comment on the sidelines of the press conference, Mora turned down a request for comment; however, he told a correspondent that the negotiations will likely resume next week.

“Both Iran and the U.S. have accepted to restart talks, and the negotiations will only focus on the remaining differences between them,” he added.

Meanwhile, Amir Abdollahian, in response to the same correspondent who asked him on the date of the resumption of talks, said, “In the coming days. The technical issues have to be coordinated.”

When faced a question from the same correspondent on the format, the top Iranian diplomat noted, “Details need to be consulted.”

The visit comes two days after Mora and Borrell had a working dinner with Robert Malley, United States’ top negotiator in Vienna.

Borrell blames the Ukraine war and resolution by the IAEA for a delay in resuming talks.

Ahead of the visit on early Friday, France’s foreign ministry released a statement expressing its readiness to resume the talks on reviving the JCPOA.

Two officials, one Iranian and one European, told Reuters ahead of Borrell's trip that “two issues including one on sanctions remained to be resolved.”

These comments were not rejected or confirmed by the Iranian foreign ministry.

Later on Saturday, Borrell met Admiral Ali Shamkhani, secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council (SNSC).

In the meeting, Iran's security chief said, "While fulfilling all our commitments under the JCPOA, we have never left the negotiating table and are now seeking a strong, lasting and credible agreement."

Shamkhani also stressed that Iran's retaliatory nuclear measures are "merely a legal and rational response to U.S. unilateralism and European passivity, and will continue until the West's illegitimate behavior changes."

After his meeting with Shamkhani, Borrell tweeted, “Important meeting with the secretary of the Supreme National Security Council of #Iran, Ali Shamkhani, on how to bring the #JCPOA back on track.”

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