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EU Foreign-Policy Chief to Visit Iran


FILE - European Union foreign policy chief Josep Borrell talks to reporters at the European parliament, Jan.14, 2020 in Strasbourg, France.

European Union top diplomat Josep Borell is visiting Tehran Monday for talks with Iranian officials to talk about de-escalating tensions in the region and to show support for the 2015 agreement on Iran's nuclear program.

Meetings Monday and Tuesday will include Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and Majlis Speaker Ali Larijani.

Borrell's trip is the latest attempt by the EU to save the nuclear deal between Iran and a group of world powers that limited Iran's nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief.

U.S. President Donald Trump unilaterally withdrew from the deal in 2018 and reimposed sanctions on Iran.

The five remaining parties to the accord -- Britain, France, Germany, China and Russia -- have pledged to keep the accord alive.

Iran has gradually scaled back its commitments under the agreement as it complained the other parties were not keeping their commitments to help it see sanctions relief.

After the U.S. killing of top Iranian commander Qassem Soleimani in January, Iran announced that it would no longer respect limits set on how many centrifuges it can use to enrich uranium.

Borrell met with Zarif on the sidelines of a conference in India on January 16 to press Tehran to "preserve" the increasingly fragile nuclear agreement, according to a statement released in Brussels.

Borrell told Zarif that the deal was "more important than ever," given rising tensions in the Middle East, the statement said.