Tehran Hosting EU Talks

Tehran Hosting  EU TalksTehran Hosting  EU Talks

Tehran is to play host today to the first round of Iran-EU talks between Deputy Foreign Minister for European and American Affairs Majid Takht-Ravanchi and EU deputy foreign policy chief, Helga Schmid.

The decision to hold the high-level consultations was agreed in a July visit to Iran by EU foreign policy chief, Federica Mogherini.

Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and Mogherini will chair the next round of meetings, ISNA reported.

Takht-Ravanchi said on Sunday that the two-day deputy-level talks will cover a wide range of issues, including Iran-EU relations in the fields of energy, trade, financial and banking cooperation, the environment and fight against narcotics.

Experts from Iran and the 28-nation bloc will also discuss regional issues such as the campaign against terrorism and extremism, which are posing threats to regional countries and EU members, the nuclear negotiator was quoted as saying by Press TV.

Takht-Ravanchi said Iran and the EU have agreed to hold meetings in Tehran and Brussels twice a year, adding that this will help the two sides reach a better understanding of each other's positions on regional and international issues.

***Zarif-Mogherini Meetings

In a separate development, Mogherini announced at a press conference in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, on Saturday after a meeting of EU foreign ministers that she would meet Zarif in Brussels, Belgium, on February 15 and 16.

The top EU diplomat said she was preparing "an important visit" to Tehran sometime this year but added that no exact date has been set yet.  

Iran and the five permanent members of the UN Security Council–the United States, France, Britain, China and Russia—plus Germany began on January 16 to implement the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, the formal name of the nuclear deal clinched in July to give Iran sanctions relief in return for temporary constraints on its nuclear program.

Mogherini said preparations with Iran were well underway, adding that all the members of the bloc were backing the opening with Iran.

"It was very important to see the unity of the member states in the direction, intentions and preparations of this work we are doing with Iran," Mogherini added.

"I can also confirm that I debriefed the [EU] ministers on the plans for my visit [to Iran]; it's going to be an important visit for sure, that we are preparing already with the Iranians," the EU foreign policy chief stated.