Top Iranian official Bagheri meets Qatar’s FM in first visit to Doha

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Ebrahim Raisi

Ebrahim Raisi

Iran’s newly-appointed Deputy Foreign Minister Ali Bagheri Kani met with Qatar’s Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani in Doha on Monday.

This was Begheri’s first foreign trip since assuming his position as part of the Ebrahim Raisi administration last month. The Iranian official’s meeting with Sheikh Mohammed saw the two discuss latest developments in the region as well as issues of common interest.

Iranian media reported that he was also accompanied by a high-ranking political delegation.

Last month, Bagheri was appointed as Tehran’s new nuclear negotiator, replacing his predecessor Deputy Foreign Minister for Political Affairs Abbas Araghchi. The latter was instead appointed as an adviser to newly-appointed Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian.

This was despite Araghchi attending all six rounds of nuclear talks in Vienna and serving as the country’s chief nuclear negotiator since 2013. Notably, Bagheri is a relative of Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

Bagheri was among a team of negotiators under Iran’s former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who at the time was slapped with US sanctions.

The newly-appointed negotiator had publicly criticised the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action [JCPOA] when it came into effect under the US Barack Obama administration in 2015.

Qatar has been calling on the international community to resume nuclear talks to accelerate the revival of the nuclear accord.

“We want a quiet region. We hold consultations with Iran and keep our channels open with Tehran. We do not want to see a nuclear race in the region,” said Qatar’s Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani in an interview with the US Council on Foreign Relations [CFR] last week.

Earlier this week, Amirabdollahian said US officials had attempted to restart nuclear talks last month, but the the Islamic Republic demanded that Washington unfreezes $10 billion worth of frozen funds as a sign of good will.

“The Americans tried to contact us through different channels [at the UN General Assembly] in New York, and I told the mediators if America’s intentions are serious then a serious indication was needed … by releasing at least $10 billion of blocked money,” Amirabdollahian told state television on Saturday.

The Iranian diplomat also stressed that Iran would “soon” return to the Vienna nuclear talks, though failed to specify a date.

Meanwhile, Germany on Monday said it would reject any Iranian demands for the US to release its frozen assets to resume nuclear talks.

“If here new conditions are being set by Iran for talks to be resumed, then we reject that,” a German foreign ministry spokesman said, calling on Tehran to resume the talks as soon as possible.

Source » dohanews

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