UK minister holds talks in Iran in first visit since US quit nuclear deal

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A junior British minister held talks with his Iranian counterpart in Tehran on Saturday, Iran’s television reported, the first visit by a UK minister since US President Donald Trump withdrew from Iran’s nuclear deal with world powers.

Britain and other European signatories are trying to keep the nuclear deal alive, despite Trump’s reimposition of sanctions on Tehran.

Junior Foreign Minister Alistair Burt met Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araghchi, the state television reported

“The talks mainly covered economic cooperation and mechanisms of financial and monetary dealings between the two countries after the US withdrawal from the nuclear accord,” the television report said.

The two sides also discussed regional developments, it added.

‘Safe, secure future for the region’

In a statement before his visit, Burt said: “As long as Iran meets its commitments under the deal, we remain committed to it as we believe it is the best way to ensure a safe, secure future for the region.”

Burt was also expected to discuss the cases of dual nationals detained in Iran.

Britain is seeking the release of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, a project manager with the Thomson Reuters Foundation who was arrested in April 2016 at a Tehran airport as she headed back to Britain with her daughter, now aged four, after a family visit.

She was convicted of plotting to overthrow Iran’s clerical establishment, a charge denied by her family and the Foundation, a charity organization that is independent of Thomson Reuters and operates independently of Reuters News.

Burt is due to meet non-governmental organizations (NGOs) during his two-day visit when he will also discuss Iran’s role in conflicts in Syria and Yemen.

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