Iran says regional summit off Dead Sea coast a good opportunity to revive nuke talks

Jordan set to host ‘Baghdad II’ conference, bringing together Iraq, France and main players in Mideast, including rivals Iran and Saudi Arabia, in effort to defuse tensions

Iran's Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian (L) speaks at a press conference in Tehran on December 19, 2022. (AFP)
Iran's Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian (L) speaks at a press conference in Tehran on December 19, 2022. (AFP)

TEHRAN, Iran — Iran’s foreign minister said Monday that a summit to take place this week in Jordan is a “good opportunity” for negotiations aimed at restoring the 2015 nuclear accord.

On-off talks to revive the deal, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), started in April last year between Iran and France, Germany, Britain, Russia, and China directly, and the United States indirectly.

But the indirect talks between the US and Iran, mediated by the European Union, have stalled for several months with the Islamic Republic facing protests over the death in custody of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old Iranian of Kurdish origin.

The Jordan summit “is a good opportunity for us to complete these discussions,” Iran’s top diplomat Hossein Amir-Abdollahian told reporters in Tehran.

His comment came a day before Jordan on Tuesday hosts the “Baghdad II” conference, bringing together Iraq, France, and the main players in the Middle East, including rivals Iran and Saudi Arabia, to defuse regional tensions through dialogue.

Amir-Abdollahian and European Union foreign policy chief Josep Borrell will be among the officials at the meeting along the Dead Sea.

“I hope that according to the approach of the Americans in the last three months, we will see a change of approach and the American side will behave realistically,” Amir-Abdollahian stressed.

“I clearly say to the Americans that they must choose between hypocrisy and the request to reach an agreement and the US return to the JCPOA,” he added.

The 2015 agreement gave Iran sanctions relief in exchange for curbs on its nuclear program to guarantee that Tehran could not develop a nuclear weapon — something it has always denied wanting to do.

But the US unilateral withdrawal from the accord in 2018 under then-president Donald Trump and the re-imposition of biting economic sanctions prompted Iran to begin rolling back on its own commitments.

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