Iran, EU officials meet on nuclear deal amid tensions
TEHRAN, June 15, 2019 (BSS/AFP) – Iran’s deputy foreign minister met a top
EU diplomat on Saturday to discuss the future of the troubled nuclear deal,
state media said, amid rising tensions between Tehran and Washington.
The meeting in Tehran between Abbas Araghchi and Helga Schmid, deputy to
EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini, focused on the 2015 nuclear deal
while also touching upon “regional and international issues”, according to
IRNA news agency.
The talks follow attacks Thursday on two tankers in the Gulf of Oman that
the United States has blamed on Iran, despite Tehran’s denials.
US-Iran strains have escalated since President Donald Trump withdrew last
year from the landmark nuclear deal which Iran signed with world powers.
The European Union is an ardent backer of the deal and has pledged to
support Tehran in the face of crippling US sanctions, but Iranian officials
have voiced frustration at the lack of concrete steps taken so far.
Tehran has given the remaining partners of the deal until July to make
good on their pledges, or warned it will step back from its key nuclear
Schmid’s stop in Tehran follows visits last week by German Foreign
Minister Heiko Maas and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
The latter was in the Iranian capital when the tanker attacks happened,
with explosions hitting a Japanese-owned vessel and a Norwegian-operated one.
The incident near the Strait of Hormuz, a key waterway which is vital to
the world’s oil supply, has raised fears of conflict erupting in the region.
BSS/AFP/FI/ 2307 hrs