UK foreign secretary due in Iran for key talks

Sat 09 December 2017 07:10 GMT | 11:10 Local Time

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UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson plans to make a visit to Tehran this weekend for key talks with senior Iranian officials as part of a three-country trip across the Middle East, the Iranian Foreign Ministry says.

Heading a delegation, Johnson would arrive in Tehran on Saturday, Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Bahram Qassemi said on Friday, according to PressTV reports.

He added that during the visit, the sides would discuss the latest developments pertaining to Tehran-London relations, particularly in trade and economic sectors, as well as leading regional and international issues.

Johnson is expected to meet Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and Secretary of Iran's Supreme National Security Council Ali Shamkhani.

The trip will be the first for a UK Foreign Secretary to Iran since 2015 and only the third since 2003, according to the Foreign Office.

Johnson is set to arrive in Oman Friday, before traveling to Iran Saturday and the United Arab Emirates Sunday.

According to reports, the UK foreign secretary will also exchange views with Iranian officials on the landmark nuclear agreement, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), reached between Iran and the P5+1 group of countries in 2015.

Iran and the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council – the United States, France, Britain, Russia and China – plus Germany signed the nuclear agreement on July 14, 2015 and started implementing it on January 16, 2016.

Under the JCPOA, Iran undertook to put limits on its nuclear program in exchange for the removal of nuclear-related sanctions imposed against Tehran.

UK Prime Minister Theresa May on November 30 affirmed her country's support for the nuclear agreement in the face of the US administration's harsh rhetoric and threats to "terminate" it.

British Prime Minister Theresa May met with Jordan's King Abdullah II and was set to hold talks with her Jordanian counterpart Hani al-Mulki later on Thursday.

"We must stand firm in our support for the ... deal. This deal was the culmination of 13 years of diplomacy and a major step towards ensuring that Iran's nuclear program is not diverted for military purposes," she said.

US President Donald Trump delivered an anti-Iran speech on October 13, in which he said he would not continue to certify Iran’s compliance with the terms of the JCPOA, reached under his predecessor Barack Obama, and warned that he might ultimately terminate the agreement.

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