Iran’s top negotiator, EU’s Mora to hold 'result-oriented' talks in Brussels on Wednesday

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)
Iran’s Deputy Foreign Minister Ali Baqeri-Kani (R) and EU deputy foreign policy chief Enrique Mora pose for a photo before their meeting in Tehran on October 14, 2021. (Photo by Fars news agency)

Iran’s top negotiator in talks held to remove US illegal sanctions says he will meet with the European Union’s Deputy Secretary General Enrique Mora in the Belgian capital on Wednesday to continue “talks on result-oriented negotiations.”

In a tweet on Monday, Ali Baqeri-Kani said he will meet Mora, who also acts as the coordinator of the 2015 Iran nuclear deal’s Joint Commission, in Brussels to discuss the continuation of talks, several rounds of which were held earlier this year to bring back Washington into compliance with the accord, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), after the US administration unilaterally quit the deal in 2018.

“Will meet JC Coordinator in Brussels on Wednesday to continue our talks on result-oriented negotiations,” Baqeri-Kani said.

Former US president Donald Trump left the 2015 Iran nuclear deal in May 2018 and re-imposed the anti-Iran sanctions that the agreement had lifted. He also placed additional sanctions on Iran under other pretexts not related to the nuclear case as part of his “maximum pressure” campaign.

Its European allies in the agreement bowed down to the American pressure and started to toe the sanctions line as closely as possible.

In early April, Iran and the remaining parties to the JCPOA began to hold talks in Vienna, Austria, after the US administration of Joe Biden voiced willingness to rejoin the nuclear agreement and remove the draconian sanctions his predecessor slapped 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.

‘Iran determined to engage in negotiations to remove unlawful sanctions’

In another tweet the same day, Baqeri-Kani said the Islamic Republic is determined to engage in negotiations that “would remove unlawful and cruel sanctions in a full & effective manner.”

He added that such talks must also “secure normalization of trade and economic relations with Iran and provide credible guarantee for no further reneging.”

The US sanctions have had an adverse impact on the Islamic Republic’s relations with several countries, including European ones. 

The European Union foreign policy chief, Joseph Borrell, has said Iran should reap the economic benefits of the JCPOA in exchange for restrictions on its nuclear work.

'Continuation of failed maximum pressure will not facilitate talks'

In a third tweet, Iran's top negotiator warned against the continuation of the failed maximum pressure policy against Iran, which started under the Trump administration, saying it would only further complicate negotiations.

"The continuation of the failed maximum pressure policy definitely will not remove any obstacle in 'negotiation to remove illegal and cruel sanctions', rather will add more to already existing negotiations’ complexities," Baqeri-Kani tweeted.

The US special envoy for Iran, Robert Malley, has admitted that the Trump administration's maximum pressure campaign against Iran “failed miserably” and “hurt US interests”.

Speaking on a television show hosted by MSNBC journalist Mehdi Hasan, Malley said Iran’s nuclear program accelerated only after the former US president launched his maximum pressure campaign.

Baqeri-Kani also reflected on "the real readiness" of the JCPOA parties to fulfill their commitments in another tweet, noting that the main question to be addressed before restarting talks is to see “if our partners are genuinely ready to fulfill their commitments [under the JCPOA].”

He added that one step that should be taken by other JCPOA partners to address this question is to call out the non-participant violator (which in this case is the United States) to divorce from its past malign policies.

EU confirms talks with Iran in Brussels to be held 'this week'

Meanwhile, a spokesman for the EU confirmed on Monday that the bloc's top negotiator would meet his Iranian counterpart this week in Brussels for talks on restarting negotiations over the sanctions removal.

"I can confirm that a bilateral meeting with his Iranian counterpart is planned for this week," spokesman Peter Stano told AFP.

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