EU foreign policy chief to visit Saudi Arabia, Iran

Published July 23rd, 2015 - 10:30 GMT

EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini will visit Iran and Saudi Arabia next week to discuss the international nuclear deal struck with Tehran, which has been hailed as a watershed agreement but has also met with concern in the Middle East.

Some of Iran's neighbours fear that the lifting of sanctions foreseen by the deal could expand the country's influence in the region, considering it to be destabilizing. Mogherini helped broker the agreement, which requires Iran to curb its nuclear programme.

Saudi Arabia is a regional rival of Iran. Riyadh and Tehran are on opposite sides in the Syria and Yemen conflicts.

Mogherini will travel first to Saudi Arabia on Monday, where she will meet Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir and other officials, according to information issued by her office on Thursday.

The discussion topics will include "regional issues in the aftermath of the agreement reached ... on the Iranian nuclear issue," it said in a press release.

The European Union's top diplomat will then visit Iran on Tuesday for "exchanges on the implementation of the agreement," among other things. Talks are foreseen with Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and other Iranian representatives, the press release said.

Mogherini's trip follows visits to the region by top German and Italian politicians, as well as US Defence Secretary Ashton Carter.

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