News ID: 265114
Published: 0308 GMT February 02, 2020

Top EU diplomat to visit Iran for de-escalation

Top EU diplomat to visit Iran for de-escalation

Top European Union diplomat Josep Borrell is due to visit Iran on February 3, said officials in Tehran and Brussels, on his first trip to the Iranian capital since taking office, in an attempt to reduce tensions following the US pullout of the 2015 nuclear deal.

Borrel is set to meet President Hassan Rouhani, Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani on the two-day trip, his office said in a statement.

The nuclear deal between Tehran and a group of world powers has been crumbling since US President Donald Trump withdrew from it in May 2018, and Washington has ever since stepped up American sanctions and a campaign of "maximum pressure" against Iran.

Borrell's mission aims “to engage in diplomatic dialogue with regional partners, to de-escalate tensions and seek opportunities for political solutions to the current crisis," said the office of the EU's high representative for foreign affairs and security policy.

"The visit will also be an opportunity to convey the EU's strong commitment to preserve” the nuclear deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), and to discuss cooperation between the EU and Iran, his office said.

The deal struck in Vienna between Iran and the five permanent members of the UN Security Council – Britain, China, France, the United States and Russia – plus Germany, offered Tehran a partial reprieve from crippling international sanctions.

In exchange, Iran agreed to reduce its nuclear activities and allow tailor-made inspection regime by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

The US withdrawal from the deal and its reimposition of biting sanctions deprived Iran of anticipated economic benefits.

The renewed US sanctions have almost isolated Iran from the international financial system, driven away oil.

Since May 2019, Iran has progressively scaled back commitments under the agreement in response to the US sanctions and Europe's inability to circumvent them.

Iran says it is now producing uranium enriched beyond the 3.67 percent set by the agreement, and no longer adheres to the limit of 300 kilograms imposed on its enriched uranium stocks.

It has also resumed research and development that was restricted under the deal.


'Last step'


On January 5, the Islamic Republic announced the "last step" in its plan to roll back on its commitments, saying that it was no longer bound by limits on the number of centrifuges it could run to enrich uranium.

Iran accuses the European parties to the deal of not respecting their own commitments and of doing nothing to help circumvent the US sanctions.

In an interview with German weekly news magazine, Der Spiegel, Zarif said, "It’s a disaster for Europe to be so subservient to the US. Anybody who accepts unilateralism is helping it."

On January 16, the EU foreign policy chief and Zarif discussed the latest developments around the JCPOA during a meeting on the sidelines of a conference in India.

According to an EU statement, Borrell "underlined the continued interest of the European Union to preserve the agreement, which is now more important than ever, in light of the dangerous escalations in the Middle East and the Persian Gulf region."

Tehran has stressed, however, that the steps it has taken away from the deal can be reversed if Iran's interests are realized.

In an effort to bring Tehran back to full implementation of the deal, Paris, London and Berlin triggered a complaint mechanism in January.

The mechanism could lead to the reestablishment of all sanctions that were lifted by the UNSC, but, for now, the Europeans say they are keen on getting Iran back on board rather than reimpose sanctions.

Tehran has long said that if the Iran nuclear dossier were to be sent back to the UNSC, it would signal the definitive death of the 2015 deal.

AFP, Reuters and Press TV contributed to this story.




Security Key:
Captcha refresh
Page Generated in 1/3617 sec