Irish foreign minister in Iran as UN facilitator for nuclear talks –

Irish Foreign Minister Simon Coveney visited Iran on Monday to discuss the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) nuclear deal.

Ireland, which is halfway through its two-year term as an elected member of the UN Security Council, has been appointed facilitator of the resolution 2231 body, which underpins the JCPOA.

Under the terms of the agreement reached in 2015, Iran pledged to limit its nuclear production and allow international monitoring of its nuclear facilities in exchange for the lifting of numerous international sanctions.

In 2018, however, US President Donald Trump unilaterally withdrew the US from the deal and reinstated many of those sanctions, after which Iran restarted some of its nuclear activity in response. Talks on reviving the deal resumed in Vienna in April 2021, with final negotiations starting this week.

“Over the past year, I have engaged intensively with all key players to encourage a return to full implementation of the agreement,” Coveney said before arriving at the talks, which, a- he added, had reached “an extremely important milestone”.

“Iran’s continued progress in its nuclear program and reduced cooperation with international inspectors have raised serious concerns in the region and beyond,” he said. “A much better alternative is on the table,” he added.

On Monday, Coveney met with Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi, who said “the rights of the Iranian people must be respected” in the negotiations, according to the broadcaster. France 24 reported.

“We are serious and ready to reach a good agreement,” Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian said at a joint press conference with Coveney. The deal can be done soon as long as the United States and Europe are “serious” about returning to full compliance with the deal, he added.

“I believe that the other parties to the JCPOA, especially Western countries, are deeply committed to making this work,” Coveney said, adding that “full restoration of the JCPOA would ensure rapid and substantial sanctions relief for the ‘Iran”.

“Our goal is the complete removal of all JCPOA sanctions,” Amir-Abdollahian said. “It is better for the Islamic Republic to reach an agreement today rather than tomorrow.”

(Molly Killeen |