Iranian, EU officials meet in Jordan amid stalled nuclear talks

EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell says meeting with Tehran’s foreign minister was ‘necessary… amidst deteriorating Iran-EU relations’

Men walk near a framed picture depicting Jordan's reigning King Abdullah II as they cross the main hall at the King Hussein Bin Talal Convention Centre near the town of Sweimeh in central-west Jordan on December 18, 2022 two days ahead of the "Baghdad Conference for Cooperation and Partnership." (Khalil MAZRAAWI / AFP)
Men walk near a framed picture depicting Jordan's reigning King Abdullah II as they cross the main hall at the King Hussein Bin Talal Convention Centre near the town of Sweimeh in central-west Jordan on December 18, 2022 two days ahead of the "Baghdad Conference for Cooperation and Partnership." (Khalil MAZRAAWI / AFP)

SWEIMEH, Jordan — Iran’s Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian met Tuesday with EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell on the sidelines of a summit in Jordan, an Iranian diplomatic source said.

The meeting, which was confirmed by Iran’s official news agency IRNA, comes at a time when negotiations in Vienna aimed at reviving the 2015 Iran nuclear deal are stalled.

The 27-nation bloc’s nuclear negotiator Enrique Mora was at the meeting, the Iranian diplomatic source told AFP. IRNA said his Iranian counterpart Ali Bagheri was also present.

Borrell tweeted that the meeting was “necessary… amidst deteriorating Iran-EU relations” and that they agreed to keep communications open and to restore the accord on the basis of the Vienna negotiations.

The landmark 2015 deal was designed to prevent Iran from secretly developing a nuclear bomb, a goal the Islamic Republic has always denied.

It has been hanging by a thread, however, since the unilateral withdrawal of the United States in 2018 under then-president Donald Trump.

Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian speaks in Moscow, Russia, August 31, 2022. (Maxim Shemetov/Pool Photo via AP)

Ahead of the Jordan summit on Tuesday, Amir-Abdollahian had said the gathering would be a “good opportunity” to revive negotiations on the issue.

The meeting between him and Borrell also comes after the EU last week imposed a new wave of sanctions on Iran over what it called the “repression” of protests and its military support for Russia’s war in Ukraine.

In his tweet, Borrell said he had stressed the “need to immediately stop military support to Russia and internal repression in Iran.”

European Union foreign policy chief Josep Borrell arrives for the EU-ASEAN summit in Brussels, December 14, 2022. (AP Photo/Olivier Matthys)

Demonstrations have swept Iran since the September 16 death in custody of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old Iranian Kurdish woman who had been arrested in Tehran for an alleged breach of the country’s strict dress code for women.

Human rights groups say Iranian security forces have killed at least 469 protesters in a crackdown on the movement. The country’s top security body gave a toll of more than 200 in early December.

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