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Nuclear deal: Qatar to host talks between US and Iran

Diplomats hope talks can help break impasse over return to 2015 nuclear deal that saw sanctions lifted from Iran
Iran's Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian during a press conference at the foreign ministry headquarters in Tehran on 25 June 2022 (AFP)

Qatar will host indirect talks between Iran and the United States in the next few days amid a push by the European Union to break the impasse to reinstate the 2015 nuclear pact, Iranian media reported on Monday. 

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

According to Reuters, a source briefed on the visit said that “US special envoy for Iran, Robert Malley, is expected to arrive in Doha on Monday and will meet with the Qatari foreign minister.”

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An Iranian official also told Reuters that Iran’s chief nuclear negotiator Ali Bagheri Kani “will be in Doha for the talks on June 28 and 29.”

In March, the pact appeared to be secured when the EU - which was coordinating negotiations - invited foreign ministers representing the accord’s parties to Vienna to finalise an agreement after 11 months of talks between US President Joe Biden's administration and Tehran. 

The talks have since been suspended, mainly over Tehran’s insistence that Washington lift all sanctions and remove the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), its elite security force, from the US Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO) list. 

But last week, Middle East Eye reported that Iran had removed the demand for the taking of the IRGC off the FTO list. However, two issues, including the topic of sanctions, have yet to be resolved. 

Iran’s foreign ministry spokesperson Saeed Khatibzadeh said on Monday, “nothing is agreed until everything is agreed.

“Iran’s nuclear steps are reversible if Washington fulfils its commitments.”

The 2015 Iran nuclear deal was a landmark accord where Iran agreed to dismantle much of its nuclear programme and open its facilities for international inspection in return for sanction relief. 

However, under President Donald Trump in 2018, the United States withdrew from the deal, which saw the return of tougher sanctions and Iran resuming some of its nuclear activities.

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