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Iran To Assess Outcome of Talks with E3 and EU Foreign Policy Chief, Says Zarif

BELGIUM -- Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif (2nd R), British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson (R), French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian (C), German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas (2nd R) and EU foreign police chief Affairs Federica Mogherin

Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has described his talks with the foreign ministers of E-3 and the E.U. foreign policy chief as “a good start.”

Following the meetings Zarif told reporters, “If the JCPOA is to continue, this was a good start, and the meeting in Brussel sent out an important message.”

Zarif held meetings with E.U. Foreign Policy Chief Federica Mogherini, and the foreign ministers of France (Jean-Yves Le Drian), Germany (Heiko Maas), and the United Kingdom (Boris Johnson) in Brussels on Tuesday May 15.

Later, in an interview with the official news agency IRNA on his way back to Tehran, Zarif said that the European parties to the JCPOA work hard to preserve the deal and limit the impact of U.S. withdrawal on Europe’s trade with Iran.

“We are talking about facts. Europeans are the allies of the United States. They are not supposed to put an end to their relations with America,” Zarif told IRNA, adding “such a thing is neither possible nor Europeans want it. Europeans will defend their own interests.”

Zarif added, “The Europeans have a list of what they need to do in order to keep the JCPOA going.”

According to the Iranian Foreign Ministry’s website, the diplomats attending the meetings “Reiterated their commitment to the continued, … and effective implementation of the Iran nuclear deal that was unanimously endorsed by the U.N. Security Council Resolution 2231, as a key element of the global nuclear non-proliferation architecture and a significant diplomatic achievement.”

Meanwhile, the Zarif and his European interlocuters “regretted the withdrawal of the United States from the Iran nuclear deal and recognized that the lifting of nuclear-related sanctions and the normalization of trade and economic relations with Iran constitute essential parts of the agreement,” said the website.

They also “agreed to deepen their dialogue at all levels”. The Europeans also “undertook to launch intensive expert discussions with Tehran, addressing issues including maintaining and deepening economic relations with Iran; continued sale of Iran’s oil and gas, as well as effective banking transactions with Iran, ” the Iranian Foreign Ministry website continued.

“They finally reaffirmed their resolve to continue to implement the nuclear deal in all its parts, in good faith, and in a constructive atmosphere, and agreed to continue to consult intensively at all levels and also with other parties to the JCPOA,” the website quoted a ministry press release as saying.

Zarif said this list of commitments has to become “operational” and completed with details, “and then we can decide to what extent Iran’s interests can be secured.”

He added that the remaining signatories of the Iran nuclear accords would meet next week. This group of 4+1 replaces the former P5+1, which included the U.S., France, UK, China, Russia, Iran and Germany.