Iranian foreign ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh speaks during a press conference in Tehran on Feb 22, 2021. (ATTA KENARE / AFP)
Iran may hold talks on restoring the 2015 nuclear accord with world powers on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly next week as the country looks to make further changes to its nuclear-negotiations team.
Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian will leave for New York on Monday and will meet representatives of the nuclear deal member-states “if such meetings will be useful,” Saeed Khatibzadeh, a foreign ministry spokesman, told reporters at a press conference in Tehran on Sunday.
Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian will leave for New York on Monday and will meet representatives of the nuclear deal member-states “if such meetings will be useful,” said Saeed Khatibzadeh, a foreign ministry spokesman
Negotiations to revive the agreement that the US exited in 2018 and had curbed Iran’s nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief were put on hold in June when cleric Ebrahim Raisi was elected president of the Islamic Republic.
Raisi’s government has introduced significant changes at Iran’s Foreign Ministry, with veteran nuclear negotiator Abbas Araghchi replaced by Ali Bagheri Kani, a vocal critic of the deal.
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Khatibzadeh signaled further personnel adjustments on Sunday.
“Naturally there will be changes to the nuclear deal’s negotiating team,” he said, without elaborating.
Iran’s nuclear program will also be under the spotlight at the International Atomic Energy Agency’s annual general conference next week, to be attended by Mohammad Eslami, the country’s chief nuclear official. Eslami arrived in Vienna for the event on Sunday. Oil traders will be on alert for any breakthrough at both events, with US sanctions relief likely to trigger a release of Iranian crude onto markets.
Tehran this week avoided a formal rebuke over its nuclear activities at the IAEA, a move that opened the way for talks with world powers to resume. Informal consultations intended to set the date for a seventh round of negotiations may unfold at the Vienna conference.
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Raisi, who’s directly sanctioned by the US, won’t attend the General Assembly in New York and plans to address global leaders at the gathering for the first time via a pre-recorded video statement.