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UK Diplomat Meets Araqchi

The diplomats discussed bilateral economic cooperation, the US withdrawal from the JCPOA and mechanisms of monetary and financial deals between the two countries despite the US sanctions
Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi (2nd L) meets with British Junior Foreign Minister Alistair Burt (3rd R) in Tehran on Saturday. Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi (2nd L) meets with British Junior Foreign Minister Alistair Burt (3rd R) in Tehran on Saturday.

A visiting UK diplomat discussed a range of issues, including the future of the 2015 nuclear deal in talks in Tehran on Saturday.

Junior Foreign Minister Alistair Burt and Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi, discussed “bilateral economic cooperation, the US withdrawal from the JCPOA and mechanisms of monetary and financial deals between the two countries despite the US sanctions”, ISNA reported.  

The visit is the first by a UK minister after President Donald Trump pulled out of the nuclear agreement  with world powers.  Britain and the two other European signatories (France and Germany) are trying to keep the nuclear deal alive, despite Trump’s hostility towards Tehran.The Iranian and British officials also reviewed regional developments, the news agency said without elaboration.  

   Critical Time

In a statement published by the foreign ministry in London before his visit, Burt said, "This is a crucial moment for Iran's relationship with the UK, and the wider world. Since the US withdrew from the nuclear deal we, along with European and international partners, have reiterated our support for the deal and have underscored this support through mechanisms such as EU blocking legislation."

He added that as long as Iran meets its commitments under the deal, his country remains committed to it as it believes that it is the best way to ensure a safe and secure future for the region.  

However, he said Britain's support for the nuclear deal does not prevent it from challenging Iran on issues where they disagree, including the country's ballistic missile program and its regional policies.

Iran says its missiles are for defense only and strongly denies allegations that it plays a destructive role in the region.

"I will also use the opportunity of my visit to push for the resolution we all want to see in the cases of the British dual nationals detained in Iran," the British official said.  

Britain is seeking the release of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, a project manager with the Thomson Reuters Foundation who was arrested in April 2016 at a Tehran airport as she headed back to Britain.

She has been convicted of plotting to overthrow Iran's ruling establishment, a charge denied by her family and the foundation, a charity organization that is independent of Thomson Reuters and operates independently of Reuters News.  

Burt is due to meet non-governmental organizations (NGOs) during his two-day visit.

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