EU bid to defuse ten­sions with Iran

The Citizen (KZN) - - World - Brus­sels

– Iran’s for­eign min­is­ter has been in­vited to Brus­sels, the Euro­pean Union said yes­ter­day, urg­ing a “de-es­ca­la­tion of ten­sions” in the Gulf af­ter US air strikes that killed a top Ira­nian gen­eral.

The EU’s for­eign pol­icy chief, Josep Bor­rell, made the of­fer to Mo­ham­mad Javad Zarif dur­ing a tele­phone call this week­end.

A re­gional po­lit­i­cal so­lu­tion was the “only way for­ward”, Bor­rell said, un­der­lin­ing “the im­por­tance of pre­serv­ing” the 2015 Iran nu­clear deal.

He con­firmed “his re­solve to con­tinue to fully play his role as co­or­di­na­tor and keep the unity of the re­main­ing par­tic­i­pants in sup­port of the agree­ment and its full im­ple­men­ta­tion by all par­ties”.

US-Iran ten­sions have es­ca­lated since 2018, when Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump uni­lat­er­ally with­drew the United States from the land­mark ac­cord that gave Tehran re­lief from sanc­tions in re­turn for curbs on its nu­clear pro­gramme.

Iran has hit back by re­duc­ing its nu­clear com­mit­ments with a se­ries of steps ev­ery 60 days, the most re­cent dead­line pass­ing on Satur­day.

Trump warned on Satur­day night that the US would hit Iran harder than ever be­fore if it re­tal­i­ates over the as­sas­si­na­tion of Qasem Soleimani, the com­man­der of the Revo­lu­tion­ary Guards’ Quds Force for­eign op­er­a­tions.

He was killed in a US drone strike on Fri­day near Bagh­dad in­ter­na­tional air­port or­dered by Trump, who ac­cused the gen­eral of plan­ning an im­mi­nent at­tack on Amer­i­can diplo­mats and troops in Iraq.


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