December 03
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EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs Josep Borrell does not believe that a meeting with Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi will be productive on the margins of the UNGA.

In an interview with POLITICO on the sidelines of the General Assembly, Borrell said the EU has been pushing all parties “to finally run the last 10 meters” in the process to restore the 2015 nuclear agreement. But he can't predict any serious progress on the issue anytime soon amid ongoing EU-led negotiations.

"The activity between the parties was improving the result. But in the last weeks, this was not the case. Now we are at a stalemate. Now we are stopped," Borrell said. "The past proposal, the last request from the Iranian side, was not exactly pushing for an agreement and if we had to say today if something happened this week, I would say ‘I don’t think so."

Asked by POLITICO if he was ready to meet with Raisi, who is also in New York for the General Assembly, Borrell noted that he went to Tehran in June to try to unblock the process: "They promised me, they went to Doha. They went to Vienna.” He added: “I don’t think it’s something that can be solved meeting the president."

EU Iran Representative Enrique Mora is also attending the UN General Assembly, while U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken is also in New York, though the State Department downplayed any possibility of a face-to-face meeting with Iranian representatives.

Raisi is accompanied by Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian and nuclear negotiator Ali Bagheri Kani.

Privately, other officials are also pessimistic about a breakthrough deal ahead of the U.S. midterm elections, given the political sensitivity of the issue, and Republicans and even members of the Democratic Party are skeptical about restoring the deal because of fears that it would be weaker than the original 2015 agreement. Under U.S. law, Congress also has 30 days to consider any new agreement with Iran.

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