Political Meeting With Europe Ahead of Nuclear Coop. Talks

Iranian and EU delegations hold political consultations in Tehran on Nov. 20. Iranian and EU delegations hold political consultations in Tehran on Nov. 20.

Delegations from Iran and the European Union attended a political meeting in Tehran on Monday, marking the beginning of the third round of high-level bilateral talks that is to continue on Tuesday with discussions on nuclear cooperation.

The Iranian cities of Tehran and Isfahan are hosting the consultations, co-chaired by Deputy Foreign Minister for Legal and International Affairs Abbas Araqchi and Secretary-General of European External Action Service Helga Schmid.

Former deputy foreign minister for European and American affairs, Majid Takht-Ravanchi, headed the first two rounds of the talks on the Iranian side, ISNA reported.               

Today’s bilateral conference in Isfahan aimed at exploring the prospects for broader nuclear cooperation is scheduled to continue through Wednesday.

Among the top officials accompanying the EU delegation are the bloc's special representative for human rights, Stavros Lambrinidis, and services from the European Commission, including Director General for Development Cooperation Stefano Manservisi and Director General for Energy Dominique Ristori.

The agenda of the talks includes a whole range of bilateral and regional issues.

The plan for high-level talks was announced in a late-July 2015 press conference attended by Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and his EU counterpart, Federica Mogherini, who was on a visit to Tehran days after the conclusion of the historic nuclear accord involving Iran, six major powers and the bloc.

It went into effect six months later to subject Tehran's nuclear program to time-bound curbs in return for relief from international sanctions.

During another visit by Mogherini to Tehran in April 2016, two months after the first round of the high-level talks, a joint statement was issued to specify objectives for widening bilateral ties in different fields.

  Wide-Ranging Cooperation

The statement said the two sides will deepen cooperation by ensuring and supporting the full implementation of the nuclear deal.

They committed themselves to developing cooperative relations in the areas of mutual interest, from trade to human rights, and help promote regional peace, security and stability, and find peaceful settlements to regional conflicts through dialogue and engagement.    

The second round was held in Brussels a year ago, mainly focusing on human rights and banking relations.

The EU is a staunch defender of the nuclear deal against the attacks by US President Donald Trump, who has railed against the agreement negotiated by his predecessor Barack Obama, branding it "the worst deal ever" and "an embarrassment to the United States".

He defied the UN nuclear agency's positive assessment reports on Tehran's commitments by announcing the Islamic Republic in non-compliance without any evidence last month in a quarterly notification to the US Congress.

Trump's decision has given congress 60 days, until mid-December, to decide whether to reimpose sanctions against Tehran, a move that could effectively kill the international accord.

Trump's recent call for new EU sanctions on Iran has faced the bloc's rebuff.

Mogherini and British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson made separate visits earlier this month to warn US lawmakers against restoring the sanctions regime.


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