Irish foreign minister to meet Iran’s Rouhani in Tehran for nuclear deal talks


Ireland’s Foreign Minister Simon Coveney was set to meet Iranian President Hassan Rouhani in Tehran on behalf of the United Nations on Sunday for talks on the nuclear deal.

“Ireland is a strong supporter of the JCPOA. In our role as facilitator, Ireland is keen to maintain a close dialogue with all actors, and encourage all parties to return to full compliance with the agreement,” Coveney said in a statement.

Ireland acts as a facilitator of the 2015 deal for the United Nations Security Council.

Iran has demanded an immediate removal of US sanctions as a precondition to its return to compliance with the deal, while Washington has said Iran must first end its violations of the accord.

Ireland’s Foreign Affairs Minister, Simon Coveney, speaks to the media, at Iveagh House in Dublin, August 16, 2017. (Brian Lawless/PA via AP)

Iran on Sunday rebuffed an offer from the European Union to hold informal direct talks with the EU and US on Tehran’s nuclear program. US President Joe Biden’s administration had accepted in principle.

Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif, who is also due to meet with Coveney, said Friday that Iran would soon present a “constructive” plan of action, the Reuters news agency reported.

A day earlier Zarif said the 2015 nuclear deal “cannot be renegotiated — period.”

“Let’s stop posturing,” he tweeted, “which we both did from 2003-2012 to no avail — and get down to implementing [the deal] which we both actually signed on to.”

The Islamic Republic has been openly violating the agreement clinched in 2015, stepping up uranium enrichment far beyond permitted levels. It recently barred international inspectors from its nuclear sites.

Technicians work at the Arak heavy water reactor’s secondary circuit, as officials and media visit the site, near Arak, 150 miles (250 kilometers) southwest of the capital Tehran, Iran, Monday, Dec. 23, 2019. (Atomic Energy Organization of Iran via AP)

European nations Thursday dropped a planned resolution at the UN nuclear watchdog criticizing Iran, in a bid to hasten the revival of the nuclear deal.

France, Britain and Germany — known as the E3 — had planned to introduce a resolution at this week’s meeting of the International Atomic Energy Agency’s board of governors, with the support of the United States, denouncing Iran’s suspension of some IAEA inspections.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said he will do whatever it takes to prevent a nuclear-armed Iran, regardless of whether Washington reenters the nuclear deal with the Islamic Republic.

Defense Minister Benny Gantz on Thursday said the Israel Defense Forces is continuously updating its plans for a prospective military strike on Iranian nuclear sites.

Gantz, in an interview with Fox News, said the military plans would not be finalized until right before such a strike was set to be carried out.

“If the world stops them [Iran] before, it’s much the better. But if not, we must stand independently and we must defend ourselves by ourselves,” added the defense minister.

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www.timesofisrael.com2021-03-06 15:49:26

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