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Iran-P4+1 talks on sanctions removal to resume soon: FM Amir-Abdollahian

Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian (R) and Secretary General of the Economic Cooperation Organization Khusrav Noziri meet in Tehran on October 23, 2021. (Photo by IRNA)

Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian says the negotiations between Tehran and the P4+1 group of countries on the removal of US anti-Iran sanctions will be resumed in the near future.

In a meeting with Secretary General of the Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO) Khusrav Noziri in Tehran on Saturday, Amir-Abdollahian pointed to the recent talks between Iran and the European Union in Tehran, and added that Iran would resume the negotiations with the P4+1 group (Russia, China, Britain, France, and Germany) soon.

Iran and the remaining parties to the 2015 nuclear agreement, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), have held six rounds of talks in Vienna, which began after the US administration of Joe Biden voiced willingness to rejoin the nuclear agreement, three years after former president Donald Trump unilaterally withdrew the United States from the deal and reinstated crippling sanctions on the Islamic Republic.

While disagreements on key issues persisted, the participants took a break from the talks after Ebrahim Raeisi emerged victorious in Iran’s June presidential election, and waited for Iran’s democratic transition to take place to continue the talks.

The scope of the sanctions removal and the need for the US to guarantee that it would not ditch the JCPOA again are among the key issues not settled during the administration of former Iranian President Hassan Rouhani.

In recent weeks, there has been mounting pressure on Tehran to return to the negotiating table. The Raeisi administration has announced on several occasions that it will resume the talks only to remove all of the United States’ illegal sanctions and that it will not take part in negotiations for the sake of negotiations.

Elsewhere in the meeting, Amir-Abdollahian hailed the implementation of a number of long-term and infrastructure projects by the ECO in various fields, including transportation, trade, monetary and banking sections, and expressed hope that the remaining plans would be completed during the tenure of Noziri, who took office in August.

The top Iranian diplomat also denounced the recent terrorist attacks in the Afghan cities of Kunduz and Kandahar, describing Afghanistan as an important ECO member.

More than 60 people were killed and over 80 wounded in three back-to-back explosions that hit the Bibi Fatima mosque during Friday prayers on October 15, one of the biggest blasts in Kandahar. It came just a week after a bomb attack killed more than 150 people and left scores of others injured at a Shia mosque in the northeastern city of Kunduz.

Both tragedies were claimed by a local affiliate of the Daesh Takfiri terrorist group, which has a long history of attacking Afghanistan’s Shia minority.

Amir-Abdollahian further said that Iran would continue to support the ECO and its chief and expressed hope that ECO member states would make important decisions that would strengthen regional cooperation during the upcoming summit of the organization.

Noziri, for his part, commended Iran’s support for his appointment as the new ECO secretary general and outlined plans for the 15th ECO Summit, which is scheduled to be held on November 28, 2021 in Turkmenistan.

The ECO chief said Iran plays a leading role in the Asian political and economic intergovernmental organization and called for the continuation of Tehran’s support.

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