(Photo credit: AFP)
Senior officials from Iran, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Qatar, Kuwait, Egypt, and the EU launched the second Baghdad Conference for Cooperation and Partnership in the Jordanian capital Amman on 20 December.
Organized by France and Iraq, the summit stated aim is to “provide a forum for discussing the region’s problems.”
Ahead of the conference’s start, Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian and nuclear negotiator Ali Bagheri Kani held a meeting with EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell and nuclear talks coordinator Enrique Mora to discuss the dormant process to revive the Iran nuclear deal.
Following the meeting, Borrell said in a tweet that he urged the Iranian diplomats to “immediately halt military support for Russia and internal repression.”
“Stressed need to immediately stop military support to Russia and internal repression in Iran. Agreed we must keep communication open and restore JCPOA on basis of Vienna negotiations,” the EU official said.
Necessary meeting w Iranian FM @Amirabdolahian in Jordan amidst deteriorating Iran-EU relations
Stressed need to immediately stop military support to Russia and internal repression in Iran
Agreed we must keep communication open and restore #JCPOA on basis of Vienna negotiations
— Josep Borrell Fontelles (@JosepBorrellF) December 20, 2022
For his part, the Iranian foreign minister condemned western countries for supporting “rioters” and imposing illegal unilateral sanctions against Iran under the pretext of protecting human rights.
Amir-Abdollahian also voiced readiness to resolve any misunderstanding in direct negotiations with Ukraine, and called on the remaining JCPOA signatories to avoid politicizing the talks further and to adopt a “constructive and realistic approach to make necessary decisions for an agreement.”
Talks to restore the 2015 nuclear deal have been at a stalemate since September, when anti-government protests took hold in Iran. At the time, western nations accused the Islamic Republic of raising “unreasonable demands” in relation to a UN investigation into Iranian nuclear sites.
In the days leading up to the summit, reports spoke about a new possible meeting between Iranian and Saudi officials. However, there has been no official word on whether Amir-Abdollahian will meet with Saudi Foreign Minister Faisal bin Farhan Al-Saud.
Since 2021, Iraq has hosted five meetings between Saudi and Iranian officials, the last of which was in April, but these contacts have not yielded any breakthroughs in relations.
Another notable leader attending the summit is French President Emmanuel Macron, who analysts believe is using the opportunity to keep a strong presence in West Asia, where western influence continues to wane.