US envoy on Iran to visit Middle East

Robert Malley will visit UAE, Israel, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain ahead of resumption of nuclear talks with Iran.

Elad Benari ,

Robert Malley with John Kerry
Robert Malley with John Kerry
Reuters

The US Special Envoy for Iran, Robert Malley, will visit the Middle East in the coming days, ahead of the resumption of the nuclear talks with Iran.

The visit, which began Thursday and will continue until November 20, will include stops in the United Arab Emirates, Israel, Saudi Arabia, and Bahrain, the State Department said in a statement.

Malley “will coordinate our approaches on a broad range of concerns with Iran, including its destabilizing activities in the region and the upcoming seventh round of talks on a mutual return to full compliance with the JCPOA,” the statement noted.

Iran has gradually scaled back its compliance with the 2015 nuclear deal it signed with world powers in response to former US President Donald Trump’s withdrawal from the agreement in May of 2018.

The previous Iranian government, headed by former President Hassan Rouhani, had been holding indirect talks with the Biden administration on a return to the agreement.

The negotiations were adjourned on June 20, two days after Ebrahim Raisi won Iran's presidential election.

Last week, an Iranian diplomat said that the negotiations will restart November 29 in Vienna.

A spokesman for Iran’s Foreign Ministry on Monday demanded that the US lift sanctions imposed on Iran as part of the nuclear talks and also reassure Iran it will not abandon the deal again.

US State Department spokesperson Ned Price said last week, after Iran announced the resumption of talks, that negotiations should pick up exactly where they left off and expressed optimism that outstanding issues could be resolved swiftly.

"We've said this many times before, but we believe it remains possible to quickly reach and implement an understanding on a mutual return to compliance with the JCPOA by closing the relatively small number of issues that remained outstanding at the end of June when the sixth round concluded," Price said.

He warned, however, that the US feels time is running short to reach an agreement.

"We believe that if the Iranians are serious, we can manage to do that in relatively short order, but we've also been clear, including as this pause has dragged on for some time, that this window of opportunity will not be open forever, and that, especially if Iran continues to take provocative nuclear steps," Price state.



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