August 14, 2022

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Top negotiator: Borrell’s visit has nothing to do with JCPOA content

TEHRAN — An Iranian MP has quoted Iran’s top negotiator as saying that the EU foreign policy chief’s visit to Tehran had nothing to do with the content of the JCPOA, the official name for the 2015 nuclear deal.

Mohammad Ali Mohseni Bandpey explained that a meeting was held on Sunday with the presence of Ali Bagheri, the head of the Iranian nuclear negotiating team.

According to the legislator, Bagheri briefed the MPs on the upcoming talks between Iran and the United States through the European Union mediators.

The parliamentarian added, “In this meeting, the representatives expressed their concerns about the erosion of the JCPOA revival talks and stressed that the negotiations must be based on protecting the interests of the people and respecting the red lines of the system.”

Referring to the response of the top Iranian negotiator to the questions of the MPs, he said, “Bagheri emphasized that the government adheres to the principles of the system and is steadfast and has tried not to tie the economy and livelihood of the people to the JCPOA.”

Mohseni Bandapey stated that in the meeting Bagheri Kani, who leads the head of the Iranian negotiating team, admitted that negotiations have been eroded, but stressed that the negotiation process is under the control of the negotiating team. 

He added Bagheri did not give a clear answer about the exact timing of the conclusion of the negotiations, saying, “The head of the Iranian negotiating team in this meeting emphasized that the negotiations have two sides and both parties must reach an agreement. Finally, Bagheri pointed out that the visit of the EU foreign policy chief to Iran has nothing to do with the content of the JCPOA.”

On Saturday, Josep Borrell, a Spaniard diplomat who serves as the EU foreign policy chief, held talks with Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian and Secretary of Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) Ali Shamkhani. 

After a four-hour meeting with Amir Abdollahian, Borrell and Amir Abdollahian held a joint press conference. 

During the presser, Amir Abdollahian announced Iran is ready to resume nuclear talks to lift sanctions on Iran by reviving the 2015 nuclear deal.

Amir Abdollahian said the decision was made after detailed and in-depth talks with Borrell.

“What is important for the Islamic Republic of Iran is the full economic benefit of Iran from the agreement reached in 2015, and any issue that cannot guarantee our full economic benefit will not be acceptable to the government of Ayatollah Raisi and the Islamic Republic of Iran,” Iran’s top diplomat noted.

For his part, Borrell said, “My visit to Tehran has one main objective: give new momentum to the negotiations and bring the nuclear deal, JCPOA, back on track.”

Later in a press conference in Espinas Hotel attended by Western journalists, Borrel told reporters that “immediately after this meeting (in Tehran), the negotiations will restart.”

However, he went to say that “I cannot tell you a precise date on what is happening next week. I have to test the temperature of the next meeting. We are pushing for it. I appreciate the goodwill from the Iranian side. There is also goodwill from the American side. They are happy I am here.”

Borrell called preparation for talks a “cumulative process”, saying, “First, the delegations had to go back to the capitals to receive guidelines. Guidelines were delayed.”

The talks for resurrecting the JCPOA intended to lift sanctions on Iran have been on hold since March.

Borrell blamed the Ukraine war and resolution by the IAEA Board of Governors against Iran for a delay in resuming talks.

According to the EU’s Borrell, the discussions between U.S., Iran and the E3 will not take place in Vienna. Rather, he said, the talks will take place “somewhere nearer to the Persian Gulf.” To be specific, he added, in a Persian Gulf country.

Though he did not mention the name of the country, Nour news, a news outlet close to the Supreme National Security Council, said that Qatar has a major chance to host the talks, given its efforts to revive the JCPOA.

The talks will be held in another country, as the format has gone through drastic changes. Russia, China, France, the UK, and Germany will no longer participate in the talks. The negotiations will take place only between Iran and the U.S. through the EU team led by Borrell and his deputy Enrique Mora.

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