Mr Borrell is due to arrive in the Iranian capital in the evening where he will meet with Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian and other Iranian officials, according to a statement from the Foreign Affairs spokesman in Tehran.
“Diplomacy is the only way for a return to full implementation of the (2015 nuclear) agreement and to overcome the current tensions”, said on Twitter the head of European diplomacy, after the EU has confirmed his two-day visit to Iran.
This trip comes as the talks launched in Vienna in April 2021 between Iran and the major powers (Russia, United States, China, France, United Kingdom and Germany) have been stalled since March.
The talks aim to reintegrate the United States into the 2015 agreement providing for limitations on Iran’s nuclear program, denounced in 2018 by former US President Donald Trump, and to bring Iran back to full compliance with its commitments dictated by this pact called JCPOA.
Concluded in 2015 by Iran on the one hand and Russia, the United States, China, France, the United Kingdom and Germany on the other, the agreement granted Iran, accused to seek to acquire atomic weapons despite its denials, a reduction in the suffocating international economic sanctions in exchange for restrictions on its nuclear programme.
However, the Trump administration had also reinstated American sanctions, provoking the ire of Iran.
– “American commitment” –
The United States, a sworn enemy of Iran with which it has not had diplomatic relations since 1980, participated indirectly in the negotiations in Vienna, via the EU. Tehran and Washington accuse each other of the blockage.
Mr. Borrell’s visit “is part of the ongoing consultations between Iran and the EU. It will focus on bilateral relations, certain regional and international issues, as well as the progress of negotiations for the lifting of sanctions,” according to the statement from Iranian Foreign Affairs.
The EU confirmed in a statement Borrell’s June 24-25 visit to Iran “as part of ongoing efforts to return to full implementation” of the 2015 agreement.
Mr. Borrell’s last visit to Iran was in February 2020.
On Thursday, Enrique Mora, the EU negotiator in charge of coordinating the Iranian nuclear talks, posted on Twitter a photo of a Thursday dinner in Brussels between himself, Mr. Borrell and the American special envoy for the Iran, Robert Malley. In caption: “In-depth conversation on the JCPOA and regional perspectives in the Middle East. Malley reaffirmed the American commitment to return to the agreement”.
The American administration of Joe Biden has declared that it wants to return to the agreement, provided that Tehran resumes its commitments, while Iran previously demands the lifting of sanctions.
On Thursday, Hossein Amir-Abdollahian said his country “seriously” hoped to reach an agreement with the major powers, including the United States, after a meeting with his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov in Tehran. He called on Washington to “be realistic”.
At the beginning of June, Iran disconnected some of the surveillance cameras of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) on its nuclear sites, after the United States and the Europeans had a resolution passed at the IAEA denouncing Tehran’s lack of cooperation.
But Iran immediately said that all these measures were “reversible”, if an agreement was reached in Vienna.
After Iran disabled surveillance cameras, IAEA Director General Rafael Grossi said if the blockage persists, “in three or four weeks” the IAEA will no longer be able to provide the necessary information monitoring Iran’s nuclear program.
According to him, this would “deal a fatal blow” to the 2015 agreement.