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Britain's Foreign Secretary To Visit Iran

Britain's Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt

British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt is scheduled to visit Iran for the first time on November 19 for talks about the nuclear deal between world powers and Tehran.

Hunt's visit is the first by a Western foreign minister since the United States withdrew in August from the nuclear agreement in which Tehran accepted curbs on its nuclear program in exchange for relief from international sanctions.

The latest report from the UN atomic watchdog said last week that Iran was abiding by the terms of the 2015 agreement, even as Washington imposed a second round of crippling economic sanctions on Tehran on November 4.

Hunt, in a statement ahead of the visit, said the nuclear agreement was "a vital component of stability in the Middle East" and Britain would "stick to our side of the bargain as long as Iran does."

Hunt's office said he would meet Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and discuss European efforts to maintain nuclear-related sanctions relief.

But Hunt also suggested Iran needed to end what U.S. President Donald Trump's administration has described as Tehran's "malign conduct," such as nuclear and missile development and support for militant groups in the Middle East.

"But we also need to see an end to destabilizing activity by Iran in the rest of the region if we are going to tackle the root causes of the challenges the region faces," Hunt said in the statement.

Based on reporting by Reuters and AFP