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Iran to resume nuclear talks this week

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TEHRAN: Iran is to resume nuclear negotiations with world powers on October 21 that were suspended in June, an Iranian lawmaker said on Sunday after a meeting with Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian.

The minister said that “talks with the 4+1 Group will restart on Thursday in Brussels”, Ahmad Alirezabeigui told the ultra-conservative news agency Fars after a closed-door session with Amir-Abdollahian.

The lawmaker was referring to four UN Security Council permanent members — Britain, China, France and Russia — along with Germany.

Iran and these five nations opened talks in Vienna in April with the European Union (EU) also attending while the United States has taken part in indirect negotiations.

The United States, China, Russia, Germany, France and Britain struck an accord in Vienna with Iran on its nuclear programme in 2015.

But then-US president Donald Trump pulled America out of the deal in 2018 and re-imposed biting sanctions. Since then, Tehran — which says its nuclear programme is for civilian purposes only — has also retreated from many of its commitments under the accord.

Trump’s successor Joe Biden has said he is ready to return to the agreement if Iran re-adheres to its nuclear commitments. The Vienna talks aimed at reviving the deal were suspended in June, when Iran elected Ebrahim Raisi as president.

The EU’s diplomatic chief Josep Borrell said on Friday he was “ready” to meet Iranian leaders in Brussels as part of efforts to revive the faltering deal.

Another Iranian lawmaker, Behrouz Mohebbi Najmabadi, said on Twitter on Sunday that negotiations would resume “this week”.

Published in Dawn, October 18th, 2021

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