US, Iran to hold indirect nuclear talks in Qatar

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US, Iran to hold indirect nuclear talks in Qatar

On Tuesday, chief negotiators from the United States and Iran were due to hold indirect talks in Qatar, hoping to overcome obstacles that have stalled attempts to revive a nuclear deal.

After more than a year of negotiations in Vienna, US special envoy Robert Malley and Iranian special envoy Ali Bagheri headed to Doha.

The talks in the Qatari capital are the start of a process to unblock the Vienna talks, according to Peter Stano, European Union foreign affairs spokesman.

He said that we managed to unblock the process and we are going to move forward. He said in Brussels that we have these proximity talks as a first step at this stage.

That means that there are indirect talks between Iran and the United States on how to move forward. The deal to curb Iran's nuclear ambitions has been hanging by a thread since 2018, when US President Donald Trump unilaterally withdrew from it and began imposing harsh economic sanctions on America's arch-enemy.

The US President Joe Biden's administration has been trying to return to the agreement, saying it would be the best path ahead of the Islamic republic, even though it has voiced growing pessimism in recent weeks.

The delegations in separate rooms will be able to communicate via intermediaries and will take place in Doha. The US and Iran don't have diplomatic relations.

On Monday, Malley met Qatari Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani to talk about joint diplomatic efforts to address issues with Iran, the US embassy in Doha tweeted.

Bagheri and his delegation arrived in Doha, Iran, according to the IRNA state news agency.

Sheikh Mohammed talked about the Iran talks with his French counterpart Catherine Colonna in a phone call on Tuesday, the official Qatar News Agency said.

Qatar's foreign ministry said in a statement that it hopes the indirect talks will lead to positive results that contribute to the revival of the nuclear deal signed in 2015 EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said during a visit to Tehran on Saturday that the Iran-US talks would be held in a Gulf country to avoid confusion with the broader talks in Vienna.

Qatar, which has better relations with Iran than most Gulf Arab monarchies, has sought a role as a diplomatic hub.

It also hosted talks between the United States and the Taliban before the withdrawal of American troops from Afghanistan in August last year.

Stano said that the time is not really on our side, so we should move forward very quickly, referring to the Qatar meetings.

It's not up to the European Union or Borrell to decide the tempo, because everything depends on the willingness of participants to find the necessary way forward.