Breaking: Iran says considering EU’s offer of informal meeting with US, P4+1 group
A senior Iranian diplomat says the country is considering the European Union’s offer to host an informal meeting between Iran and other parties to the 2015 nuclear deal, with Washington also attending as a guest.
Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi said EU Foreign Policy Chief Josep Borrell has expressed his readiness to invite the current parties to the JCPOA, namely the P4+1 group and Iran, to attend an unofficial meeting to develop the future roadmap of the deal.
According to Press TV, Araqchi said in a televised interview on Saturday night the US, which left the multilateral deal in 2018, will also be invited to attend the informal meeting as a guest.
“Now we are considering Borrell’s offer, and are engaged in consultations with our other friends and partners like China and Russia,” he added.
However, the Iranian diplomat said, Tehran believes the US return to the JCPOA and the implementation of its commitments including the removal of sanctions do not need any negotiation.
“Certain technical talks and operational arrangements might be needed, which can be arranged by Borrell’s apparatus, but basically there is no need for talks,” Araqchi added.
“Anyway, we are considering Borrell’s offer and will declare our opinion once the consideration is over,” he said.
Ned Price, a Spokesman for the US State Department, said Thursday the Biden administration was willing to meet with Iranian officials and other world powers involved in negotiating the nuclear deal.
Price said Washington “would accept an invitation” from the European Union’s top diplomat to attend a meeting aimed “to discuss a diplomatic way forward on Iran’s nuclear program.”
So far, no meeting has been arranged yet, but Borrell has expressed willingness to invite the parties to engage in talks.
A State Department official, briefing reporters on the condition of anonymity, said on Thursday Washington would be represented at the meeting by Biden’s Special Envoy for Iran, Rob Malley.
Biden also announced on Friday that the US was prepared to get engaged in talks with the “P5+1” group on Iran’s nuclear program.
Hours later, Iran’s Foreign Ministry Spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh said “because of US withdrawal from JCPOA, there is no P5+1. It is now only Iran and P4+1.”
“Remember, Trump left the room and tried to blow it up. Gestures are fine. But to revive P5+1, US must Act: LIFT sanctions. We WILL respond. Here is the key sequence: Commit, Act, Meet,” he added in a tweet.
In his Saturday remarks, Araqchi said the ongoing visit of Rafael Grossi, the Director-General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), to Tehran will not impact Iran’s decision to stop implementing the Additional Protocol to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) Safeguards Agreement as of February 23 as per a law passed by the Iranian Parliament.
“Grossi’s trip to Tehran has nothing to do with Iran’s decision,” Araqchi said, adding that the visit is aimed at creating a “new order” in Iran-IAEA relations.
“Once the February 23 deadline arrives and Iran stops its voluntary implementation of the Additional Protocol, a new situation will be created in our ties with the IAEA,” he noted.