South Korean-US officials talk by phone about Iran nuclear deal

South Korea's Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced that Vice Foreign Minister Choi Jong-kun and the US Special Envoy for Iran, Mr. Robert Malley had a phone call on October 7, discussing cooperation related to the negotiation process to restore the Iran nuclear deal called the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) signed in 2015.

Technicians work at the Isfahan nuclear facility, 420km south of the Iranian capital Tehran. File photo: AFP
Technicians work at the Isfahan nuclear facility, 420km south of the Iranian capital Tehran. File photo: AFP

During the phone call, Vice Minister Choi reaffirmed South Korea's commitment to provide necessary support to resume the negotiation process "given the importance of Seoul-South Korea relations," the ministry said in a press release. Tehran". For his part, Special Envoy Malley suggested that Seoul continue to play a "constructive" role in efforts to restart negotiations.

Earlier, on October 6, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken confirmed that he had discussed with his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov about the restoration of the JCPOA, and affirmed that Moscow and Washington had common concerns on this issue.

Speaking at a press conference in Paris within the framework of his visit to France, Foreign Minister Blinken stated that the US and Russia have a common interest in returning to JCPOA compliance. The two sides had the opportunity to share each other's positions, as well as the roadmap that Washington and Moscow wanted.

Under the 2015 JCPOA agreement between Iran and the P5+1 group (US, France, Russia, UK, China and Germany), Tehran limited its uranium enrichment program in return for the lifting of economic sanctions. economic.

In 2018, then-US President Donald Trump withdrew the US from the JCPOA and unilaterally re-imposed sanctions on Iran. In response, Tehran gradually abandoned the implementation of its commitments in the agreement since May 2019.

After taking office in January 2021, President Joe Biden pledged the US would return to the JCPOA agreement. Negotiations to save the deal resumed in April in Vienna (Austria). However, Iran requested a halt to the talks in June due to a leadership change in the country, under which Ebrahim Raisi became Iran's president.

On September 30, US Secretary of State Blinken warned that time was running out for Iran to return to full compliance with the agreement.

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