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Iran Press TV

Iran FM, top EU diplomat discuss JCPOA, de-escalation in Persian Gulf

Iran Press TV

Monday, 03 February 2020 4:09 PM

European Union foreign policy chief, Josep Borrell, and Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif have discussed latest developments surrounding a landmark 2015 nuclear deal between Tehran and major world powers as well as ways to de-escalate tensions in the Persian Gulf.

Borrell, who is in Tehran on his first trip since taking office, met with the Iranian foreign minister on Monday amid tensions between Iran and the United States, which started after the US' unilateral withdrawal from the nuclear deal, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

The two top diplomats also exchanged views about the implementation of a non-dollar direct payment channel -- officially called the Instrument in Support of Trade Exchanges (INSTEX) -- aimed at facilitating trade with Iran in the face of US sanctions.

The three European signatories to the JCPOA unveiled late in January 2019 the long-awaited direct non-dollar payment mechanism meant to safeguard their trade ties with Tehran following the US withdrawal from the nuclear deal and in the face of the "toughest ever" sanctions imposed by the United States against the Islamic Republic.

In its initial stage, INSTEX was supposed to facilitate trade of humanitarian goods such as medicine, food and medical devices, and later be expanded to cover other areas of trade, including Iran's oil sales. However, it has not resulted in any trade deals so far.

Zarif and Borrell also discussed a US-hatched American-Zionist scheme, which Washington claims seeks to resolve the ages-old Palestinian-Israeli conflict, and warned of its negative consequences for the region and the world.

Defying international outcry, US President Donald Trump announced the general provisions of the scheme, which he has controversially dubbed "the deal of the century," on Tuesday, with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at his side. Palestinian sides were conspicuous by their absence at the ceremony given their vociferous disagreement to the plot.

The US president reiterated his hugely-contentious recognition in late 2017 of the holy occupied city of Jerusalem al-Quds as Israel's "undivided capital," although Palestinians have historically wanted the city's eastern part as the capital of their future state.

Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Abbas Mousavi said on Monday that Iran considers Borrell's visit to be "important," and that Tehran would be engaging him in very "straightforward" talks.

Mousavi hoped that during the talks, Brussels would take heed of Tehran's arguments, realize the roots of the current situation and the new logic governing it, and take serious action to deescalate existing tensions "if they (Europeans) entertain any good intentions."

The office of the EU's high representative for foreign affairs and security policy also said that Borrell's mission aims "to de-escalate tensions and seek opportunities for political solutions to the current crisis."

It added that the trip will allow Borrell "to convey the EU's strong commitment to preserve" the JCPOA and to discuss cooperation between the EU and Iran.

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