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Europe moves for US-Iran talks in Kuwait, says daily

KUWAIT CITY, Sept 11, (Agencies): The European move to hold talks between the United States and Iran in Kuwait are aimed at easing tensions in the region and exploring opportunities for a comprehensive dialogue between the two belligerent nations – talks that could include the nuclear file as well as the ballistic missile program and Iran’s activities in the region, reports Al-Rai daily quoting sources.

The same sources said the European countries that have signed the nuclear agreement with Iran strongly support negotiations between Washington and Tehran, and believe there is an opportunity based on intensive talks held by these countries separately with the United States and Iran, but the European move is opposed by some countries in the region which say the talks must not be held in Kuwait.

The sources pointed out intensive efforts are being exerted to convince the countries which object the holding of the dialogue in Kuwait, based on latter’s position acceptable to all distinguished Arab, regional and international parties.

Although a meeting between US President Donald Trump and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has become a likely option, according to sources, the pursuit of talks between the two countries in Kuwait is not directly linked to the holding of such a summit, because the ‘European trio’ believes that the ground is ready to launch dialogue between the two countries regardless of the level of representation, so any talks in Kuwait can precede or follow the possible meeting between Trump and Rouhani.

Two women who are dual British-Australian citizens and an Australian man have been detained in Iran, one of them sentenced to 10 years in prison, Australia’s government and media said Wednesday. Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade said it was providing consular assistance to the families of all three.

The department said it could not comment further due to privacy obligations. The department also urged Australians to follow its travel advice, which includes a warning that foreigners risk arbitrary detention in Iran. A British-Australian blogger and her Australian boyfriend were detained 10 weeks ago while traveling through Asia, The Times newspaper in London reported. A British-Australian academic who studied at Cambridge University and was lecturing at an Australian university was detained separately and sentenced to 10 years in prison, the newspaper reported.

The newspaper said she was being held in solitary confinement but it did not know what she had been convicted of doing. The lecturer has been behind bars for almost a year, Australian Broadcasting Corp reported.

The Australian government, the newspaper and the ABC have not released names. The three are held in Tehran’s Evin prison, where British Iranian Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, 41, has been detained since 2016 on spying charges, the newspaper reported.

The women are thought to be the first British passport holders who do not also have Iranian nationality to have been imprisoned by Tehran in recent years, the newspaper said. The blogger was being held in the same ward for female political prisoners as Zaghari-Ratcliffe, the newspaper reported.

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