EU top diplomat holds talks in Iran to de-escalate tensions

TEHRAN (AFP) – Top EU diplomat Josep Borrell on Monday held talks in the Iranian capital during a mission aimed at lowering tensions over the Islamic republic s nuclear programme.

Borrell s trip, his first to Iran since taking office, follows a spike in tensions between arch foes Washington and Tehran after the January 3 assassination in Baghdad of a top Iranian general in a US drone strike.

Borrell started his visit by meeting Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, discussing the situation in the region and ways of reducing tensions as well as the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, the ministry said.

He later met separately with President Hassan Rouhani and parliament speaker Ali Larijani.

The nuclear deal between Iran, the five permanent members of the UN Security Council — Britain, China, France, the United States and Russia — and Germany offered Tehran a partial reprieve from crippling international sanctions.

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