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  13 Oct 2021, 14:56

EU envoy to visit Iran Thursday amid nuclear talks push

  TEHRAN, Oct 13, 2021 (BSS/AFP) - The EU envoy charged with coordinating

talks on reviving a troubled nuclear deal between Iran and major powers is to
visit Tehran on Thursday, the Iranian foreign ministry said.

   Enrique Mora's visit "is a follow-up to consultations between the two
sides on matters of shared interest, particularly Iran-EU relations,
Afghanistan and the nuclear agreement," a ministry statement said.

   The deal, which gave Iran sanctions relief in return for curbs on its
nuclear programme, has been on life support since 2018, when then US
president Donald Trump unilaterally pulled out and reimposed crippling
sanctions.

   Mora's trip to Tehran comes amid mounting pressure from EU countries as
well as the United States for a swift resumption of talks on Washington's
return to the agreement.

   "The message to Iran is unequivocal: return to the negotiating table
immediately," German Chancellor Angela Merkel said during a visit to Israel
on Sunday.

   Tehran has been seeking European guarantees that there will be no
repetition of Trump's unilateral withdrawal.

   "The European capitals, including Berlin... must give their clear
assurance to the Islamic republic that this time, no party will violate the
nuclear deal," foreign ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh told reporters on
Monday.

   US President Joe Biden has signalled a willingness to return to the deal,
but his Secretary of State Antony Blinken warned earlier this month that time
was running out and the ball was in Iran's court.

   Talks in Vienna between Iran and the remaining parties to the agreement --
Britain, China, France, Germany and Russia -- have been on hold since a June
election in Iran led to a change of president.

   New President Ebrahim Raisi -- an ultraconservative former judiciary chief
-- is thought to be less ready than his predecessor Hassan Rouhani to make
concessions to the West for the sake of a deal.

   Iran has said repeatedly that it is ready to resume talks "soon" but no
date has yet been announced.

   Tehran gradually rolled back its own nuclear commitments in response to
the US pullout, and Washington has been demanding that it return to its
obligations too.

   Mora attended Raisi's inauguration in August, drawing criticism of the EU
from Israel, a fierce critic of the nuclear deal with its arch foe Iran.

 

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