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Top Iran, EU diplomats discuss JCPOA revival in New York 

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)
Iranian FM Hossein Amir-Abdollahian meets EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York on September 20, 2023. (Photo by Iran’s Foreign Ministry)

Iran’s foreign minister and the EU foreign policy chief have discussed ways to continue talks on the revival of the 2015 nuclear deal, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, which have been stalled for over a year over lingering differences between Iran and the US.

In a Wednesday meeting on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York, Hossein Amir-Abdollahian and Josep Borrell “stressed the importance of continuation of dialogue and full implementation of commitments by all parties to JCPOA”, according to an Iranian Foreign Ministry statement.

It said the EU official, who acts as the coordinator of the JCPOA revival talks, stressed his readiness to follow up on the talks and hold necessary consultations.

"The parties showed interest in taking concrete actions based on an agreed framework and to establish as much mutual understanding as possible," the statement said.

Those talks have been on pause since August last year, with Iran blaming a lack of political will on the part of the US President Joe Biden administration to undo the damage caused to the multilateral nuclear deal by the previous US administration.

Donald Trump pulled Washington out of the UNSC-endorsed agreement in May 2018, imposing severe economic sanctions against Tehran while Iran was adhering to its commitments under the deal and even continued to do so for a year after the US withdrawal.

Tehran scaled back its commitments to the JCPOA in a series of pre-announced and clear steps after witnessing the other parties' failure to secure its interest under the agreement.

Some observers see the exchange of five prisoners between Iran and the US on Monday as a possible gate to a broader agreement between the two countries. The Iranian Foreign Ministry said that Borrell expressed his satisfaction with the prisoner swap in the meeting.

The parties also discussed the course of cooperation between Iran and the International Atomic Energy Agency while also reviewing the latest developments in bilateral relations and consulted on regional and international developments, the statement said.

Releasing a statement on the meeting, the European External Action Service said Borell raised "most urgent issues affecting EU-Iran bilateral relations and the recent developments on the JCPOA" during the meeting.

"On the JCPOA, the High Representative underlined the importance of following a path of de-escalation," reads the statement, also calling on Iran to improve cooperation with the IAEA. He stressed the "need to find a diplomatic solution to the Iran nuclear issue in the framework of the JCPOA," according to the statement.

The diplomat also urged Iran to release "all EU citizens" who have been detained in the country and also to stop what he claimed to be "military cooperation with Russia" in the Ukraine war.

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