Iran: Remarks by High Representative Josep Borrell at the Press Conference with Minister of Foreign Affairs of Iran, Hossein Amirabdollahian

June 25, 2022

Weapon Program: 

  • Nuclear

Thank you, Minister [of Foreign Affairs of Iran, Hossein Amirabdollahian], 

It was important for me to come here and I appreciated a lot your hospitality, Minister. And we have not finished yet, I am looking forward to further meetings during this afternoon.  

My visit has one main objective: it was to break the current dynamic of escalation and to break the stalemate of the negotiations of the JCPOA [Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action] . It was of paramount importance to give a new momentum to bring the JCPOA on track.

On my request, you invited me to come and discuss deeply of the reasons that have created this stalemate. And I am very happy, as Minister has said, and thank you for that Minister, that we will resume the talks on the JCPOA in the coming days. The coming days means the coming days. I mean quickly, immediately. And so, we are going to break this stalemate and stop this escalation process in which we were.  

Allow me to remind that, as Coordinator of the JCPOA talks, I decided to pause the Vienna talks in March [2022]. In March, I decided to stop for a while because I had put on on the table a text with very few open questions. And these questions were subject to be addressed by Iranians and the United States because the other members – China, France, Germany, Russia and the United Kingdom, the other parties of the JCPOA - agreed with my assessment and the pause. But a pause is not three months. March, April, May, June - that is more than a pause. It has to be finished. Three months have passed, and we need to speed up our work. And I am very happy and thankful for the decision that the Minister has already announced, taken by both of us here in Tehran, that the talks will resume. There are decisions that have to be taken in Tehran and in Washington. But we agreed today that this visit will be followed by the resumption of negotiations also between Iran and the United States, facilitated by my team, to try to solve the last outstanding issues.  

I cannot underline the importance of reaching an agreement on the basis of the text they put on the table, and how important it is for all of us, for Iran, for the world - for the Europeans, certainly, but for the world as a whole - to have an agreement on the JCPOA. Especially now, because we live in a different world.  

Since February [2022], we live in a different world. Four months ago, just before we decided to pause in our negotiations, Russia unleashed a brutal aggression against Ukraine. And this is a tectonic change in the world of geopolitics. This is a major breach of [the] United Nations’ principles, and a big change in the relationship between States.

In such environment, the conclusion of our landmark agreement is more important than ever. The world needs security and stability. And the world will be a much secure place if we have a deal that can ensure for Iran full benefits, full economic benefits of the agreement, and at the same time to address the concerns of the international community about non-proliferation, global security and regional stability.  

And this brings me, allow me Minister, to another point of our discussion today: it is our thinking and our new approach - of the European Union - with respect to the Gulf region. We are offering to the countries in the region a new and much deeper relationship, based on a broad agenda that includes the global issues - green transition, digital transition, but also trade and regional security. And I cannot conceive such, as a regional approach, without you, without Iran. Nobody can talk about the stability in the Gulf region without taking into account Iran - the biggest country in the region and a great potential provider of energy. But for that, again, we need to go back to the full implementation of the JCPOA.  

We want to stress our bilateral relations, Minister, although it will deserve another visit to Tehran. This [visit] was focusing on JCPOA, and I will be more than happy to come back to Tehran to go deeper in the bilateral relations between the European Union and Iran. Because I am convinced that we have an enormous potential in many fields, starting from trade - including oil and gas - to many other issues. We are a big market, you are a big market, and our economies are strongly complementary [with] each other. That is why we need the JCPOA back on track. We have to solve the non-proliferation concerns of the international community, and the badly needed US sanctions lifting, for Iran to reach its full economic potential.  

We discussed about other issues, you mentioned them - some consular issues of mutual concern - and I think that we will have to continue discussing. But today has been a positive meeting because we decided to resume in the coming days the Iranians’ deal negotiations [JCPOA negotiations], which were stalled for the last three months. 

Thank you.