Iran, EU hold third round of high-level talks

The third round of comprehensive discussions between Iran and a high delegation of European Union representatives will take place in Iran.

al-monitor David Geer (L), head of the EU Sanctions Policy Division, EU foreign policy official Helga Schmid (2nd L), Seyed Abbas Araghchi (2nd R), Iran's vice minister for legal and international affairs and Majid Takht-Ravanchi (R), Iran's undersecretary for European and American affairs and senior diplomats from other major powers meet in Vienna, Austria, April 25, 2017. Photo by JOE KLAMAR/AFP/Getty Images.

Topics covered

donald trump, p5+1, jcpoa, bilateral relations, mohammad javad zarif, tehran, european union, federica mogherini, abbas araghchi

Nov 21, 2017

A senior delegation from the European Union traveled Nov. 19 to Iran for high-level talks between Iran and the EU.

Helga Schmid, the deputy of EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini, led the delegation in this third round of talks. Previous summits were held in Brussels and Tehran.

According to Iran’s official IRNA news agency, energy, the environment, the economy, counternarcotics, human rights and regional matters were among the most important issues discussed between Tehran and the EU.

In an interview with Iran’s Economy Radio, Abbas Araghchi, who is serving as the deputy of Iran’s foreign minister for legal and international affairs, spoke of the details of the meetings with the EU delegation.

“As a result of these talks, we reached [an agreement] over the agenda of the Iran-EU relationship of the future," Araghchi said Nov. 20.

Araghchi saidboth sides have disagreements over political and regional issues. Still, he said Iran and the EU made “very good progress” on economic cooperation.

“One of the issues that was discussed was the bilateral cooperation in the areas of banking, financing and investment. There are obstacles in this area that stem from the measures of US President Donald Trump’s administration,” he added.

Hinting at talks over the nuclear deal, Araghchi said, “The European side once again emphasized its support for the nuclear deal and reiterated its commitment to it.” He added, “During the talks, the European side emphasized the issue that the JCPOA [Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action] is not renegotiable. We also heard the sentence from the European side that ‘all sides must remain committed to the agreement.’ I wholly think the discussions on this issue were useful.”

Tehran and the P5+1 countries (the United States, the UK, France, Russia, China and Germany) reached a deal over Iran’s nuclear program in 2015.

Mentioning a possible US plan for withdrawing from the nuclear deal, Araghchi said, “The European Union has [some] ideas about this [prospect], and we shouldn’t forget that the EU is seeking to preserve and support the JCPOA as well as secure the interests of European companies and banks under the JCPOA."

Araghchi also talked about the current status of the JCPOA in the United States. “The ball of the JCPOA is now in Congress’ court, and currently various lobbies are active to affect Congress' [decision] — one of them is the EU lobby," he said.

Araghchi added, “What has happened so far indicates that the JCPOA has [enough] strength that scrapping it and restoring the sanctions won’t be easy. … This strength has led Trump’s attempts in the last 10 months to kill the JCPOA to nowhere. “ Araghchi said that Tehran is ready for any scenario, but any US decision to withdraw from the deal won't be easy under the current circumstances.

In a separate interview Nov. 21, Araghchi said talks about opening an EU office in Tehran weren't on the agenda.

Moreover, Iran’s government spokesperson Mohammad-Bagher Nobakht said Nov. 21, “We haven’t had a serious discussion in the government and Supreme National Security Council [about the opening of an EU office in Tehran] so far, and if we make any decision [regarding this issue], it will be announced.”

The Iran-EU talks continue until Nov. 22. Additionally, Schmid met with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif on Nov. 20.


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