Tehran denies talks with EU on anti-government protests


The upcoming talks expected to be held between Iran and the EU this week will only focus on nuclear issue, Bahram Qassemi, the Iranian foreign ministry spokesman, said.

Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif is invited by EU's foreign policy chief, Federica Mogherini to hold talks on implementation of the JCPOA (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action), ‎ Qassemi said at a press conference in Tehran Jan. 8, Iranian media outlets reported.

Besides Zarif and Mogherini three European foreign ministers will take part in the meeting, the spokesman added.

Earlier Germany's Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel said that the European Union will invite Iran's foreign minister for talks about the recent anti-government protests that have hit the country.

"Together with the EU's foreign policy chief (Federica Mogherini), we agreed to invite the Iranian foreign minister, if possible next week," Gabriel told German public broadcaster ZDF on Jan. 7.

"We very quickly affirmed that we support the freedom to demonstrate and that the state should support this," Gabriel added.

At the same time, Gabriel said Berlin will not follow the lead of US President Donald Trump, who pledged to help Iranians "take back" their government.

At least 21 people have been killed and hundreds arrested ‎during the protests in Iran, which began December 28 as protests against economic hardship and corruption grew into political rallies.

Qassemi further touched upon the Friday meeting of UN Security Council on Iran protests, saying the session was another failure for US president Donald Trump.

The US on Friday took the Iran protests to the UN Security Council, where deep divisions emerged over the issue, with Russia arguing the demonstrations posed no threat to international peace and security.

Qassemi also commented on the upcoming Iran sanctions waiver and Trump's report to the Congress on the JCPOA, saying that possible withdrawal of the US from the nuclear deal or any unreasonable decision by Washington will be resulted with Iran’s "proportional and heavy” reaction.

He added that any grave mistake by the US will lead to Washington's regret.