EU diplomat to visit Iran amid nuclear deal crisis

EU foreign policy chief to visit Iran in bid to revive nuclear deal
2 min read
02 February, 2020
Joseph Borrell will meet with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani among other senior officials during his two-day trip.
Borrell wants to 'de-escalate tensions' and seek opportunities 'to resolve the current political crisis' [Getty]
The European Union's top diplomat Josep Borrell is set to visit Tehran on Monday for talks with senior officials in the Islamic Republic, according to the Iranian foreign ministry.

Borell is scheduled to meet Iran's President Hassan Rouhani, Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif as well as Parliamentary speaker Ali Larjani during the two-day trip, amid heightening tension over the country's rising nuclear program. 

In late January, the EU foreign policy chief announced an extension in the time allocated to negotiate means to save Iran's failing 2015 nuclear deal with world powers, under a dispute mechanism triggered by three EU states, France, Germany and Britian respectively.

The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JPCOA) collapsed after US President Donald Trump unilaterally withdrew and sharply escalated sanctions against Iran, dealing a devastating blow to the country's economic life.

Read more: Iran 'may withdraw' from nuclear treaty over Europe dispute

The American strategy of maximum pressure was met by regime's gradual withdrawal from the JPCOA's commitments.

After the orchestrated killing of the commander of Iran's elite Quds force, Qasem Soleimani in January and a near full-blown confrontation between the states, Iran announced on Jan 5. that it would no longer respect limits set on how many centrifuges it would use to enrich uranium.

It is against this backdrop that Borrel will try to "to de-escalate tensions" and seek "opportunities for political solutions to the current crisis," as stated by the office of the EU's high representative for foreign affairs and security policy.

Iran accuses the European members to the deal of violating their own commitments, and doing little to ease the impact of the crippling US sanctions.

Iran maintains that it can undo the steps it has taken away from the deal can be reversed if Iran's interests are realised in negotiations.

European analysts have little faith in this pledge, pointing to the irreversabillity of research and development gains.

The dispute mechanism triggered by the three EU states also runs the risk of reestablishing all sanctions that were lifted by the United Nations Security Council.

Tehran has long said that if the Iran nuclear dossier were to be sent back to the UNSC, it would signal the definitive death of the 2015 deal.

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