West News Wire: Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani, the foreign minister of Qatar, met with Hossein Amirabdollahian, his Iranian counterpart, in Tehran in an effort to advance negotiations aimed at restoring Iran’s 2015 nuclear agreement with world powers.

The top Qatari diplomat arrived in the Iranian capital on Wednesday in the afternoon, and he has an appointment with Ali Shamkhani, Iran’s security chief.

The visit comes after two days of unofficial negotiations between Iran and the United States were held in Doha in late June, with shuttle diplomacy being handled by the European Union.

There was no progress made in the negotiations, which came to an end because Tehran and Washington continue to have serious differences regarding the extent and guarantees for the lifting of US-imposed sanctions.

Amirabdollahian and Al Thani held a press conference after their meeting, during which the Iranian diplomat sought to counter the United States’ narrative that Iran is to blame for the failure of the nuclear talks.

“Despite some media claims by the American side, we have no claims that go beyond the JCPOA,” he said, referring to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, the formal name of the nuclear deal. The Iranian foreign minister added that Iran was ready for a strong and sustainable agreement.

Amirabdollahian confirmed that a major sticking point during the talks in Qatar was Iran’s demand for an “effective guarantee” by the US on “anything that could [negatively] impact Iran’s economic benefits” promised under the original deal.

For his part, Al Thani reiterated Qatar’s support for the restoration of the nuclear deal, and also for regional talks between Iran and countries of the region.

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US State Department spokesman Ned Price told reporters on Tuesday that Washington has no plan for another round of talks at the moment.

Al Thani’s trip also comes after a series of phone calls between stakeholders to discuss the fate of the nuclear deal, which the US unilaterally abandoned in 2018.

Separately, Amirabdollahian and the EU’s foreign policy chief, Josep Borrell, had a phone discussion on Tuesday.

The Iranian diplomat tweeted after the call that the “US must decide if it wants a deal or insists on sticking to its unilateral demands” while Borrell wrote that “decisions are needed now” since the window to revive the accord is closing.

Mikhail Ulyanov, Russia’s chief negotiator in the nuclear talks, which initially began in Vienna in April 2021, reacted by tweeting that “it is high time for the US to take a more forthcoming position” in the talks if it committed to restoring the JCPOA.

Amirabdollahian had also spoken with French foreign minister Catherine Colonna and Omani foreign minister Sayyid Badr al-Busaidi earlier this week.

Along with Iran and the US, China, Russia, France, Germany and the United Kingdom were the other signatories of the original accord. Qatar and Oman have been relaying messages between Iran and the US since last year in efforts to help restore the deal.


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