Iran's foreign ministry said Monday that the visit of a senior European diplomat this week is not expected to make a breakthrough in the stalled nuclear talks.
The EU coordinator of the talks Enrique Mora's visit does not mean that he is "coming with a new message after a pause [in Vienna talks]," spokesman of the ministry Saeed Khatibzadeh told reporters Monday at his weekly press briefing. "At the moment the agenda of Mora, the EU, and the JCPOA coordinator is only conveying messages and nothing new is expected to happen.'
The Vienna negotiations stopped in mid-March as Iran demanded the removal of its Revolutionary Guard (IRGC) for the US list of terrorist organization. The Biden administration so far has not accepted Tehran’s demand as opposition to such a concession has grown in Washington.
Khatibzadeh said the plan for the visit was proposed by the EU Foreign Policy Chief Josep Borrell his phone talk with Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian on April 22 and that this required in person meetings and talks in Tehran. So far, he added, the only meeting arranged for Mora in Tehran will be with Iran's top negotiator Ali Bagheri-Kani.
Calling the recent motions by the US Senate "anti-diplomacy," Khatibzadeh said Iran and the 4+1 have shown commitment to the diplomatic path and reaching "a good, reliable and lasting agreement" so it is the US that has to make a decision.
On April 4, a clear majority of Senators voted for two motions expressing their opposition to the Biden administrations negotiating approach to Iran.
The steps Iran requires the US to take to ensure its verifiable return to the 2015 nuclear deal, Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) cannot be reduced to the delisting of Iran's Revolutionary Guards (IRGC), the spokesman said. "The United States must guarantee to observe all the rights that it has deprived the Iranian nation from and abide by the UN Resolution 2231."
The Biden administration has said that it will only negotiate over delisting the IRGC if Tehran agrees to negotiate over other matters such as its regional activities which are similarly outside the purview of the JCPOA.
Khatibzadeh also confirmed the visit of Qatar's Emir, Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, to Tehran this week and said discussion of "bilateral, regional and international matters" was on the agenda of the visit. "Iran and the 4+1 are on one side of the stream and the US is on the side. There is no need for mediation between Iran and the 4+1," he said.
A source quoted by Reuters Sunday said Qatar's emir who will visit Tehran this week and then head on to Europe and the UK, will focus on mediating between Iran and European sides in the Vienna talks to bring the parties to "a new middle ground" among other things such as energy security during his trips.
Syrian President Bashar Assad visited Tehran on Sunday and received praise by Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and promises of stronger cooperation. Although the real purpose of the unannounced visit was not clear, it could strengthen perceptions of Iran's meddling in the region, if its military role expands in Syria in the wake of Russia's entanglement in Ukraine.
The IRGC is deeply involved in Syria's decade-old civil war, seen as a serious threat by Israel, as Iranian weapons and personnel entrench themselves near Israel's borders.