EU says Iran ready to resume nuclear talks at 'early date'

Josep Borrell met with Iran's top diplomat at the UN on Tuesday

FILE PHOTO: European Commission vice-president Josep Borrell speaks during a news conference on the EU's cybersecurity strategy, in Brussels, Belgium December 16, 2020. Kenzo Tribouillard/Pool via REUTERS/File Photo

EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell has said Iran is ready to resume talks on a nuclear deal, after receiving assurances from the country's top diplomat.

Mr Borrell met Iranian foreign minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly on Tuesday.

The EU mediated negotiations in Vienna earlier this year in a bid to revive a 2015 nuclear agreement between Tehran and world powers.

"The Iranian foreign minister assured of the willingness to resume negotiations at an early date," the EU said.

Mr Borrell "underlined once again the great importance of a quick resumption of the Vienna talks", it said.

The discussions, which involve the remaining parties seeking to persuade Washington to rejoin the deal and Tehran to return to its nuclear commitments, have been stalled since June, when ultraconservative Ebrahim Raisi was elected as Iran's president.

Mr Raisi voiced support for reviving the nuclear accord on Tuesday, in his international debut, even as he berated the US.

"The Islamic Republic considers useful talks whose ultimate outcome is the lifting of all oppressive sanctions," Mr Raisi said in a recorded speech to the UN.

Iranian foreign ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh said he expected a resumption of the talks "in the coming weeks", without giving an exact date.

The 2015 nuclear agreement offered Iran a reduction of UN sanctions in return for strict limits on its nuclear programme, but Tehran has progressively stepped away from its commitments in the wake of former US president Donald Trump's withdrawal and imposition of sanctions.

Mr Trump's successor Joe Biden has signalled a willingness to return to the deal, which was negotiated when he was Barack Obama's vice-president and with Iran's moderate President Hassan Rouhani.

Hopes of a revitalised deal were kept alive earlier this month after Iran agreed with the UN nuclear agency on a new compromise regarding surveillance of its nuclear sites.

Updated: September 22nd 2021, 5:00 PM
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