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Iran, EU hold seminar to enhance nuclear cooperation



More than a year into the implementation of a landmark deal on the Iranian nuclear program, Tehran and the European Union are holding a high-level seminar with the aim of promoting bilateral cooperation in the field of atomic energy.

The event, titled “International Nuclear Cooperation: Expectations and Responsibilities,” kicked off in Brussels on Tuesday, with senior European and Iranian officials in attendance.

Joint efforts by European Commissioner for Energy and Climate Action Miguel Arias Canete and Iranian Vice President and head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) Ali Akbar Salehi have helped bring about the seminar.

Secretary-General of the European External Action Service, Helga Schmid, and Director-General of the European Commission’s Directorate‑General for Energy, Dominique Ristori opened the event.

“The seminar represents an important element of the growing cooperation between Iran and the EU, following Implementation Day of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA),” the European Commission said on its website.

The JCPOA was concluded between Iran and the P5+1 group of countries, comprising the US, UK, France, Russia, China plus Germany, in July 2015, and went into effect in January of the following year.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif (R) and EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini hold a joint press conference during Iran and the P5+1 talks at the International Atomic Energy Agency headquarters in Vienna on January 16, 2016. (Photo by AFP)

AEOI spokesman Behrouz Kamalvandi, is heading the Iranian delegation, which also comprises Foreign Ministry officials and parliamentarians.

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He read out a message by Salehi, in which the AEOI head thanked the EU for its effective and constructive role in the conclusion of the historic accord.

“Development of scientific and technical cooperation between Iran and members of the P5+1 have been one of the fruits of the agreement,” the message added.

In his own address to the conference, Kamalvandi said Tehran’s complete commitment to its contractual obligations has not been met with similar dedication on the part of the other parties to the agreement, “especially some of them.”

“It is hoped that the unbalanced approach in the execution of the contractual obligations will be corrected as soon as possible,” he added.

Despite the removal of nuclear-related sanctions against the Islamic Republic on the back of the agreement, European banks and financial institutions still largely balk at resuming cooperation with Iran, fearing punitive US measures.

Observers say the United States has prevented much post-JCPOA détente and revitalized economic cooperation between Iran and the international community, especially after the inauguration in January of US President Donald Trump.

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