Irish foreign minister to meet Iran's Rouhani on nuclear deal

·2-min read

DUBLIN (Reuters) - Ireland's Foreign Minister Simon Coveney is to meet Iranian President Hassan Rouhani in Tehran on Sunday in his role as a U.N. Security Council facilitator of the nuclear deal agreed in 2015 between Iran and major world powers.

Iran has so far refused to take part in a meeting brokered by the European Union between world powers and the United States on reviving its 2015 JCPOA nuclear deal.

But European sources this week said that Tehran had given positive signs about opening informal talks after European powers scrapped plans to criticise Tehran at the U.N. nuclear watchdog.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, who is also due to meet Coveney during the trip, on Friday said Iran would soon present a "constructive" plan of action.

"Ireland is a strong supporter of the JCPOA. In our role as facilitator, Ireland is keen to maintain a close dialogue with all actors, and encourage all parties to return to full compliance with the agreement," Coveney said in a statement.

European Union member Ireland in January took up its seat as one of 15 members of the United Nations Security Council and the country has been appointed a facilitator of the 2015 deal for the Security Council.

Tehran and Washington have emerged from former U.S. President Donald Trump's attempts to wreck Iran's nuclear deal locked in a standoff over who should move first to save it. Trump pulled out of the deal in 2018.

Britain, France and Germany decided to pause the submission of a resolution critical of Iran at the International Atomic Energy Agency on Thursday to not harm the prospects for diplomacy after what they said were concessions gained from Iran to deal with outstanding nuclear issues.

Iran's nuclear policy is decided by the country's top authority, supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, and not the president or the government.

Coveney's visit comes after his ministry this week announced plans to reopen Ireland's embassy in Tehran by 2023. The embassy was closed in 2012 as part of budget cuts.

(Reporting by Conor Humphries; Editing by Alex Richardson)