Preparing for Broader Tehran-EU Dialogue

Preparing for Broader  Tehran-EU Dialogue Preparing for Broader  Tehran-EU Dialogue

The foreign minister met European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini on Friday on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly to discuss arrangements for "high-level" talks between Iran and the EU.

The plan for the consultations was announced in a late-July joint press conference between Zarif and Mogherini, who was on a visit to Tehran after the conclusion of the historic July 14 nuclear accord between Iran, the P5+1 (the US, Britain, France, China, Russia and Germany) and the EU.

At the time, Zarif said, "[The talks] will cover various topics of interest, namely energy, transportation, environment, human rights and the anti-drug campaign."

Zarif also said the talks would start at deputy ministers' level and would gradually develop into ministerial level.

Iran and the EU have held two rounds of talks in the past, the first of which revolved around critical remarks against Iran’s policy and the second round broadened to “comprehensive” negotiations.

A press release by the European External Action Service on Saturday said Zarif and Mogherini “reconfirmed their commitment to implementing the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action [the official title of the nuclear pact] which will open the way to revitalized bilateral relations in different fields and cooperation on regional and international issues.”

  Wide-Ranging Discussions  

On the planned top-level negotiations, it said, “Further work will now be taken forward through a high-level dialogue encompassing bilateral, regional and international issues of mutual interest.

“This will be led by Deputy Foreign Minister for European and American Affairs Majid Takht-Ravanchi and Deputy Secretary General for Political Affairs of the European External Action Service Helga Schmid. The first dialogue is foreseen to take place before the end of the year to be followed by a ministerial meeting at a later stage in 2016.”

On the two diplomats’ consultations on the region, the EEAS said, “In the context of their exchange on regional issues, the foreign minister and the high representative underlined the need to bring the war in Syria, which has caused so much suffering, to an end. They expressed their readiness to cooperate within UN led efforts and exchanged views on how to contribute to that end.”

  JCPOA Implementation

The top Iranian diplomat and his deputies are scheduled to hold a meeting with foreign ministers of the P5+1 on the implementation of the JCPOA on the margins of the UN summit.

In a decree issued last Tuesday, Zarif ordered the establishment of a Foreign Ministry office for the implementation of the JCPOA and appointed Deputy Foreign Minister for Legal and International Affairs Abbas Araqchi as its head. The first meeting of the Joint Commission between Iran and the P5+1 is expected to be held in the coming days in New York.

The Joint Commission, consisting of representatives of all parties to the JCPOA, is tasked with monitoring the pact and addressing issues arising from its implementation.

  IAEA Cooperation

In a separate meeting with Zarif, the head of the UN nuclear agency, Yukiya Amano, expressed hope that the implementation of the July 14 roadmap agreement between Iran and the International Atomic Energy Agency on the clarification of past and present outstanding issues regarding Tehran’s nuclear activities will go ahead in a “positive” atmosphere.

Appreciating Amano’s efforts to put the roadmap into effect, Zarif said, “We hope that the constructive cooperation with the IAEA will result in the refutation of unfounded claims against Iran’s nuclear activities and pave the way for the implementation of the JCPOA as planned.”

Iran denies the charge that its nuclear program may have any military aspects, saying the work is entirely peaceful.