DUBAI: Qatar will host indirect talks between Iran and the United States in coming days, Iranian media reported on Monday, amid a push by the European Union to break a months-long impasse in negotiations to reinstate a 2015 nuclear pact.

“Iran has chosen Qatar to host the talks because of Doha’s friendly ties with Tehran,” Mohammad Marandi, a media adviser to Iran’s top nuclear negotiator, told the ISNA news agency.

Iran’s Tasnim news agency, quoting an unnamed foreign ministry source, reported that Iran’s chief nuclear negotiator Ali Bagheri would visit Qatar on Tuesday for “negotiations on lifting sanctions”, and that the US-Iranian indirect talks would be held there.

The pact appeared close to being secured in March when the EU invited foreign ministers representing the accord’s parties to Vienna to finalise an agreement after 11 months of indirect talks between Tehran and President Joe Biden’s administration.

But the talks have since been suspended, chiefly over Tehran’s insistence that Washington remove the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, its elite security force, from the US Foreign Terrorist Organisation list.

“Nothing is agreed until everything is agreed,” Iran’s foreign ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh said on Monday.

The negotiations will be separate from broader talks in Vienna between Iran and major powers that are mediated by the EU, the bloc’s top diplomat Joseph Borrell said on Saturday in Tehran.

Iranian foreign ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh said the talks would focus on the lifting of sanctions imposed by Washington on Tehran.

“What we will do in the coming days does not concern the nuclear dimension but existing differences (and) the lifting of sanctions,” Khatibzadeh said.

Published in Dawn, June 28th, 2022

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