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EU says looks forward to continuing Vienna talks on JCPOA revival with Iran’s new administration

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
In this photo, Iran’s newly-elected President Ebrahim Raeisi is seen against a background image of Parliament Speaker Mohammad Baqer Qalibaf, during a parliament session on August 25, 2021, when the Iranian lawmakers approved 18 out of 19 of his cabinet picks. (By Fars news agency)

The European Union looks forward to continuing negotiations in Austria’s capital, Vienna, on bringing the Iran nuclear agreement back on track, says the spokesman for EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell.

“We look forward to continuing the crucial negotiations about bringing the JCPOA back on track and back to full delivery,” Peter Stano told a press briefing on Thursday, referring to the 2015 historic nuclear accord by its official acronym.

Iran and the remaining signatories of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) have already held six rounds of talks in Vienna, which began after the Joe Biden administration voiced willingness to rejoin the nuclear agreement, three years after former  President Donald Trump unilaterally withdrew the US from the deal and reinstated crippling sanctions on the Islamic Republic.

Negotiators took a break from the talks after Ebrahim Raeisi emerged victorious in Iran’s June presidential election, waiting for Iran’s democratic transition to take place in order for them to be able to continue the talks, as disagreements remained unresolved on key issues.

On Wednesday, 18 out of 19 proposed ministers of Raisi’s cabinet were approved by Iran’s Parliament, including Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, who replaced Mohammad Javad Zarif as Iran’s new foreign minister.

“We, of course, took note of the nomination process and the approval process that was completed yesterday in the parliament,” Stano said.

“I can only say that we, as the European Union, are ready to engage with the new government in line with the EU’s policy towards Iran,” he remarked.

Stano added that Amir-Abdollahian was not new to the bloc, as he had already made contacts with EU officials.

Amir-Abdollahian, 57, was deputy foreign minister for Arab and North African affairs when Ali Akbar Salehi was foreign minister. He also held the post in the first three years of Zarif’s tenure.

During the parliamentary discussion on his foreign policy outlook, Amir-Abdollahian said he would not tie the fate of the country to the JCPOA, and instead, would focus his attention on neutralizing the sanctions.

At the same time, Amir-Abdollahian said the Raeisi administration would never leave a “logical negotiating table.”

He also affirmed that Iran’s foreign policy would prioritize relations with neighbors and Asian countries under the new administration.

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