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Iran, EU signal continued work on Jordan nuclear deal

The lines of communication will remain open despite worsening relations, but there have been no signs of serious progress towards a deal.

Tehran, Iran – Iran’s top foreign policy representatives and the European Union have signaled that they will continue efforts to restore the country’s 2015 nuclear deal, after holding a meeting in Jordan.

Iran’s Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian and the bloc’s foreign policy chief Josep Borrell sit on the sidelines of the second meeting of the Baghdad Conference for Cooperation and Partnership hosted by Jordan’s King Abdullah on Tuesday.

Also present were Iran’s top negotiator in the nuclear talks, Ali Bagheri Kani, and the bloc’s coordinator, Enrique Mora. Borrell wrote on Twitter after the meeting that it was a “necessary” conversation amid “deteriorating relations between Iran and the EU.”

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“Stresses the need to immediately stop military support for Russia and internal repression in Iran,” he wrote, adding that the two sides agreed to continue talks with the aim of restoring the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), as the nuclear agreement is formally known. .

Talks in Vienna to restore the deal that the United States unilaterally abandoned in 2018 began in April 2021 and have been stalled since early September, when Western officials say Tehran made demands beyond the deal, something Iran denies.

The protests that broke out in mid-September and the new sanctions that the EU and US have since imposed on Tehran for a “brutal crackdown” on protesters, in addition to those imposed to punish Tehran’s alleged supply of drones to Russia for the war in Ukraine. they have made the prospects of real progress unlikely.

On the other hand, Iran has imposed its own sanctions on the US, the EU and the UK – another signatory to the nuclear deal along with China, Russia, France and Germany – and has accused the West of being behind the riots in the country. However, Borrell had said earlier this month that the issues of the protests and Ukraine must be separated from the nuclear deal, as the bloc “has no better option than the JCPOA to ensure that Iran does not develop nuclear weapons.”

After Tuesday’s meeting in Jordan, Iran’s Foreign Ministry said Amirabdollahian told Borrell that Iran is ready to end nuclear talks “on the basis of a draft that is the result of months of difficult and intense negotiations.” “. Although unconfirmed, this appears to be the August draft put forward by the EU, based on which Tehran and Washington had some initial constructive back and forth, but ultimately faced deadlock as they accused each other of going too far.

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IAEA team in Tehran

There has been no sign of any serious movement on what is perhaps the biggest hurdle: the issue of an open investigation by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) into nuclear activity at three Iranian sites.

A delegation from the world nuclear watchdog, led by Deputy Director Massimo Aparo, was in Tehran on Sunday and met with Iran’s nuclear chief Mohammad Eslami and Foreign Ministry officials. Neither the agency nor Tehran disclosed details of the meeting.

Iran, which maintains it is not seeking a nuclear weapon, significantly increased its enrichment of uranium to 60 percent enrichment in late November in response to a no-confidence resolution passed against it at the IAEA meeting.

After meeting Borrell on Tuesday, Amirabdollahian also met with Oman’s Foreign Minister Sayyid Badr Albusaidi, who previously passed many messages between Tehran and Washington on the nuclear deal.

The United States has publicly maintained that nuclear talks are currently not a priority for President Joe Biden’s administration amid protests in Iran.

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US news outlet Al Monitor reported Monday that lawmakers are preparing legislation targeting Iranian officials and their family members who have been granted entry into the United States.


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