Iran’s chief diplomat goes to the UN, but no meeting with the US is planned

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Iran’s new foreign minister, Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, will travel to New York on Monday to attend 76 (4 + 1), but a meeting with US officials is not on his agenda, a State Department spokesman said Sunday morning.

Saedd Khatibzadeh, speaking at his weekly press secretary in Tehran, stressed that meetings with foreign ministers will be held separately by 4 + 1 – the remaining parties to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), but also indicated that indirect diplomacy was not ruled out, and a meeting to break deadlocked negotiations to revive the JCPOA, which began in Vienna in April, could take place during Amir-Abdollahian’s stay in New York.

A joint meeting with the 4 + 1 foreign ministers could be held if there was a “special agenda” and holding a meeting was “useful”, he told reporters, but added that no decision has been made on such a meeting yet had been hit. “In Vienna, positive things can happen if the US stops unilateral action,” said Khatibzadeh, insisting that Iran is determined “to offer nothing more than the JCPOA and receive nothing less”.

Iran broke off talks in June and announced that it would resume negotiations after the inauguration of President Ebrahim Raisi’s new government. However, almost a month after Raisi’s cabinet was sworn in, Tehran has not yet set a date for the resumption of talks.

On Tuesday, Iran appointed Ali Bagheri-Kani, a senior diplomat and relative of Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, to replace former chief negotiator and deputy foreign minister Abbas Araghchi. Bagheri-Kani was a member of the Iranian nuclear negotiation team during the tenure of former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad when Iran’s nuclear diplomacy failed and international sanctions were imposed. Prior to his appointment, observers believed the change could indicate that Iran is likely to take a tougher stance on the nuclear talks.

The US Ambassador to the United Nations, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, said on Friday that Secretary of State Antony Blinken has no plans to meet with his new Iranian counterpart at the annual meeting of heads of state and government in New York. “We looked at the Iranians in Vienna and these discussions will continue,” Thomas-Greenfield told reporters, stressing that there are no plans for bilateral meetings with Iranian officials. “But that doesn’t mean we don’t see value in having talks with the Iranians because we want to move forward on issues related to the JCPOA,” she said.

The JCPOA disintegrated in 2018 after former US President Donald Trump unilaterally withdrew from the agreement and imposed massive sanctions on Iran. Since the US withdrawal, Iran has taken various steps in its nuclear activities that violate its obligations under the agreement. President Joe Biden has promised to revive the deal and lift the JCPOA-related sanctions against Iran, but disagreements persist over how the mutual steps could be handled and whether Iran would agree to compromise on its missile program and interventionist regional policy.

The Iranian UN envoy Majid Takht-Ravanchi announced on Friday that President Ebrahim Raisi will not travel to the UNGA meeting in New York, but will speak to the annual meeting on Tuesday via video link. Raisi is under US sanctions.

The State Department spokesman said Amir-Abdollahian had 45 meetings with his counterparts and representatives of international organizations on his agenda during his visit to New York.


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