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Top EU official urges talks to ease strain between U.S., Iran

By Nicholas Sakelaris
Any talks between U.S. President Donald Trump and Iranian leader Hassan Rouhani must be preceded by a commitment to the 2015 nuclear agreement, Tehran's top diplomat said Thursday. File Photo by Maryam Rahmanian/UPI
Any talks between U.S. President Donald Trump and Iranian leader Hassan Rouhani must be preceded by a commitment to the 2015 nuclear agreement, Tehran's top diplomat said Thursday. File Photo by Maryam Rahmanian/UPI | License Photo

Aug. 29 (UPI) -- The European Union's top diplomatic leader said Thursday the alliance urges talks between the United States and Iran and wishes to preserve the 2015 nuclear agreement abandoned by the Trump administration.

EU Foreign Policy Chief Federica Mogherini encouraged diplomacy between Washington and Tehran.

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"We are always in favor of talks. The more people talk, the more people understand each other, the better -- on the basis of clarity and on the basis of respect," Mogherini told reporters Thursday. "But again, first and foremost, what is existing needs to be preserved.

"More work can be done."

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U.S. President Donald Trump announced last year the United States would withdraw from the Obama-era pact, which thawed sanctions against Iran in exchange for Tehran confining its nuclear program to the laboratory.

Trump indicated at the G7 summit in France this week he's open to the idea of talks between the United States and Iran, but said it's too soon to meet now.

Iran Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said the United States must observe the deal and cease "economic terrorism" if Trump wants to meet with President Hassan Rouhani.

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"The United States is engaged in an economic war against the Iranian people and it won't be possible for us to engage with the United States unless they stop imposing a war and engaging in economic terrorism against the Iranian people," Zarif said Thursday. "So if they want to come back into the room there is a ticket they need to purchase and that ticket is to observe the agreement."

Rouhani has echoed Zarif's statements.

Discussions for a possible meeting between the two leaders come after a summer full of rising tensions. The United States and Iran have been at odds over seizures of oil tankers in the Persian Gulf and shootdowns involving military drones.

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