Posts Tagged ‘Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif’

Netanyahu says Israel could act against Iran’s ’empire’

February 18, 2018


MUNICH (Reuters) – Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Sunday that Israel would act against Iran, not just its allies in the Middle East, if needed, reiterating his country’s position that Tehran was the world’s greatest threat.

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Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, delivers a speech during the International Security Conference in Munich, Germany, Sunday, Feb. 18, 2018. (Sven Hoppe-dpa via AP)

As tensions increase in the Middle East over Iran’s role in Syria and Yemen and as U.S. President Donald Trump presses for a tougher approach on Tehran, Israel is seeking wider support to contain its regional nemesis.

Holding a piece of what he said was an Iranian drone after its incursion into Israeli airspace earlier this month, Netanyahu told the Munich Security Conference: ”Israel will not allow the regime to put a noose of terror around our neck.

“We will act if necessary not just against Iran’s proxies but against Iran itself,” he said.

In his first address to the annual Munich event, which draws security and defense officials and diplomats from across Europe and the United States, Netanyahu urged his audience to counter Iran immediately, displaying a map showing what he said was Iran’s growing presence in the Middle East.

For its part, Iran pushed back. Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, who also addressed the conference, called Netanyahu’s presentation “a cartoonish circus, which does not even deserve a response”.

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Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, in Munich, meeting with UK Labour MP Catherine Ashton

Zarif accused the United States of using the conference to “revive hysteria” against Iran, and denied that Tehran was seeking “hegemony” in the Middle East.

But Netanyahu said Iran was increasing its power as a U.S.-led coalition against Islamic State in Iraq and Syria was regaining territory from militants.

“The unfortunate thing is that as ISIS compresses and Iran moves in, it is trying to establish this continuous empire surrounding the Middle East from the south in Yemen but also trying to create a land bridge from Iran to Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and Gaza,” Netanyahu said.

“This is a very dangerous development for our region.”

Among Israel’s main concerns is Lebanon, where the heavily armed Iran-backed Shi‘ite militia Hezbollah is part of a coalition government. Israel last fought a war against Hezbollah in 2006. Tension between Israel and Lebanon has increased, including over a maritime border dispute.

Lebanon’s Defense Minister, Yacoub Riad Sarraf, who spoke after Netanyahu, said: “Watch out, we will defend ourselves … we also have friends.”

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Lebanon’s Defense Minister, Yacoub Riad Sarraf

Tensions in the region surged on Feb. 10 when anti-aircraft fire downed an Israeli warplane returning from a bombing raid on Iran-backed positions in Syria.


Netanyahu also reiterated his view, shared by Trump, that world powers needed to scrap or rewrite the 2015 nuclear accord with Tehran that curbs Iran’s nuclear weapons ambitions in return for economic sanctions’ relief.

“It’s time to stop them now,” Netanyahu said, without specifying any military action. “They’re aggressive, they are developing ballistic missiles, they’re not inspecting, they have a free highway to massive (uranium) enrichment,” he said of the fuel needed for nuclear weapons.

France, Britain, Germany, Russia and China, which signed the nuclear deal along with Iran and the United States, say the accord cannot be reopened, that it is working and that Iran is allowing inspections.

Russian senator Aleksey Pushkov said that scrapping the agreement was akin to choosing between war and peace, while John Kerry, the former U.S. secretary of state who helped clinch the agreement, said it was wrong to assume that Iran would obtain a nuclear weapon as soon as the 15-year scope of the deal ends.

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John Kerry, former U.S. secretary of state

“If your house is on fire, are you going to refuse to put it out because you are concerned it will light on fire again in 15 years? Or are you going to put it out and use the intervening time to prevent to ever catching fire again?” Kerry said.


Trump’s new sanctions ‘a blow and a warning to Iranian regime’

January 14, 2018

A man looks at Iranian-made missiles at Defense Museum in Tehran on Sept. 23, 2015. (Reuters)
JEDDAH: Tough new sanctions imposed by US President Donald Trump on 14 Iranian individuals and organizations are a political blow and a warning to the regime in Tehran, a leading analyst told Arab News on Saturday.
Among those targeted are the powerful politician Ayatollah Sadeq Larijani, the head of Iran’s judiciary and a close ally of Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. Groups facing sanctions include the cyber unit of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC).
The US move is a significant move and “a critical victory for human rights defenders and the Iranian people,” said Majid Rafizadeh, a Harvard-educated Iranian-American political scientist.
The sanctions on the IRGC cyber unit were also a step toward peace and stability by combating the Iranian regime’s attempts to hack other governments’ systems and organizations, he said.
Announcing the new action on Friday, Trump said he would continue the suspension of US sanctions on Iran under the 2015 nuclear deal — but only for 120 days. In the intervening time, he has demanded a separate agreement to restrict Iran’s ballistic missile program, which is not explicitly covered by the nuclear deal, and to make the 10-year curb on Iran’s nuclear program permanent. If he sees no progress on such an agreement, the president will withdraw from the nuclear deal.
Trump was sending a message that the Iranian regime “will be monitored not only for its nuclear defiance, development, research and proliferation, but also for its human rights violations,” Rafizadeh said.
Trump, who has sharply criticized the deal reached under Barack Obama’s presidency, had chafed at once again having to waive sanctions on a country he sees as a threat in the Middle East.
“Despite my strong inclination, I have not yet withdrawn the United States from the Iran nuclear deal,” he said on Friday. The options were to fix “the deal’s disastrous flaws, or the United States will withdraw. This is a last chance.”
Contrary to the view of his critics, Rafizadeh said, Trump had used diplomacy to address the loopholes in the nuclear deal. “This will give the administration a more robust platform to persuade the EU nations to fix the nuclear agreement or to abandon it.
“If other parties do not take necessary and adequate action to address the shortcomings of the nuclear agreement, Trump has buttressed his position and laid out the groundwork to reimpose sanctions, as well as withdrawing from the deal.”
Trump is also giving the US Congress additional time to work on legislation to fix loopholes in the deal, such as requiring Iran to allow its military sites be inspected for nuclear development, research, weaponization and proliferation, Rafizadeh said.
“Iran is not adhering to the spirit of the nuclear deal due to its heightened interventionist and expansionist policies in the Arab world and to its human rights violations domestically.”
Rafizadeh said the deal had empowered the IRGC and its militias in the region through sanctions relief. This, he said, had further radicalized, militarized and destabilized the region. “Iran continues to ratchet up its antagonistic policy toward Arab nations, the US, and the West.”
Iran’s Foreign Ministry said sanctions on Larijani were “hostile action” that “crossed all red lines of conduct in the international community and a violation of international law, and will surely be answered by a serious reaction of the Islamic Republic.”
Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said the nuclear deal was “not renegotiable” and Trump’s move “amounts to desperate attempts to undermine a solid multilateral agreement.”
James Jeffrey, distinguished fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy and former US ambassador to Iraq, told Arab News: “Ignore the rhetoric. Zarif is simply reflecting the truth about Iran’s refusal to change the nuclear deal, and all other parties including Europeans agree. But what Trump and his advisers, in background talks with me, seem to be looking for is an agreement with France, Germany and the UK to deal with the problems Trump cites — long-range missiles, inspection flaws and Iranian enrichment breakout after 10 years, without necessarily new negotiations.
“These are real problems that, for example, French President Emmanuel Macron has cited, and do not necessarily require modifying the agreement which, as Zarif says, understandably Iran rejects.
“Missiles and sanctions related to them are not part of the agreement, but a separate Security Council resolution that Iran did not formally agree to.
“Inspection problems involve a mix of the International Atomic Energy Agency not using powers the agreement gives it, and inspection procedures and deals outside of the agreement.
“Unchecked enrichment after 10 years is a serious problem, but could be dealt with through European/US carrots and sticks and cooperation by a future Iranian government, without changing the agreement.”
Speaking by phone to Arab News, Aaron David Miller, vice president for New Initiatives at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars and a former senior US peace negotiator, said that the Trump administration will face “great odds” convincing European signatories of the JCPOA to agree to change the “internal architecture’ of the agreement.
Miller also maintained that despite the strong rhetoric from the Trump administration, he does not see its policy on Iran as fundamentally different from that of his predecessor, Barack Obama.
Nevertheless, when asked whether he had expected the JCPOA to compel Iran to moderate its behavior in the region or whether he expected it to be emboldened, Miller said the JCPOA was not meant to be “transformational. It was transactional.”


Iran Mocks Trump ‘Blunder’ as Government Supporters Rally — Turning the Uprising Against The Government Into a Pro-Government “Win” — Equatorial Guinea Joins China, Russia Against U.S.

January 6, 2018

Demonstrators chant slogans against US, Israel; State TV describes protests as a ‘response to rioters’ in other cities across Islamic Republic

Iranian worshippers chant slogans while they burn a representation of US flag during a rally against anti-government protestors after the Friday prayer ceremony in Tehran, Iran, January 5, 2018. (AP Photo/Ebrahim Noroozi)

Iranian worshippers chant slogans while they burn a representation of US flag during a rally against anti-government protestors after the Friday prayer ceremony in Tehran, Iran, January 5, 2018. (AP Photo/Ebrahim Noroozi)

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Iran’s state TV on Saturday showed several hundred government supporters rallying a day after the foreign minister said a US move to call an emergency UN Security Council meeting to discuss anti-government protests was another Trump administration “blunder.”

The state broadcaster showed the pro-government rally in the city of Amol, in the northern province of Mazandaram, with hundreds of people waving the Iranian flag and chanting slogans against the US and Israel. State TV described the rally as a “response to rioters and supporters of the riots.”

Anti-government protests broke out in Mashhad, Iran’s second largest city, on Dec. 28 and have since spread to several other cities and towns. The protests were sparked by a hike in food prices amid soaring unemployment. Some demonstrators have called for the government’s overthrow.

At least 21 people have been killed and hundreds have been arrested. Large pro-government rallies have been held in response, and officials have blamed the anti-government unrest on foreign meddling.

US President Donald Trump has voiced encouragement for the anti-government protesters. The US called the UN meeting on Friday, portraying the protests as a human rights issue that could spill over into an international problem.

US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley said the emergency session put Iran on notice that “the world will be watching” its actions.

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Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif with then U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry

Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif wrote on Twitter after the session that the Security Council “rebuffed the US’ naked attempt to hijack its mandate.”

He said the majority emphasized the need to fully implement the 2015 nuclear deal and to refrain from interfering in the affairs of other countries. “Another FP (foreign policy) blunder for the Trump administration,” he wrote.

Russia portrayed the Security Council meeting as a US attempt to violate Iran’s sovereignty. Envoys from several other countries, from China to newcomer Equatorial Guinea, expressed reservations about whether the council was the right forum for the issue.


Trump’s Gulf policies impulsive and dangerous: Iranian minister

November 30, 2017


ROME (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump’s policies in the Gulf are dangerous and misguided, Iran’s foreign minister said on Thursday, adding that pressure from Washington had only succeeded in strengthening Tehran’s resolve.

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Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif

Speaking at a conference in Rome, Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said Trump’s policies were “extremely dangerous, impulsive, not grounded in reality”.

He added: “The United States pressure has in fact created more solidarity inside Iran.”

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Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, on May 2, 2016. Reuters file photo

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Missiles and a portrait of Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei in Baharestan Square in Tehran, Iran. (photo credit:NAZANIN TABATABAEE YAZDI/ TIMA VIA REUTERS)

What you need to know about Trump and the Iran deal

October 12, 2017

By Al Jazeera

US President Donald Trump is expected to refuse to certify Iran’s compliance with the landmark 2015 nuclear deal, an agreement between world powers and Tehran aimed at limiting the latter’s nuclear programme to non-military purposes.

The move comes despite thinly-veiled criticisms from US allies in Europe who have developed burgeoning commercial and political ties with Iran.


Why do Trump’s threats on the Iran nuclear deal matter?

Trump’s withdrawal of endorsement means US lawmakers can vote to introduce new sanctions against Iran, which Iranian leaders say could lead to their country’s partial or complete withdrawal from the deal.

Al Jazeera answers some of the most important questions regarding the Iran deal, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), and Trump’s expected decision.

What is JCPOA?

Often abbreviated to “the Iran deal” or “Iran nuclear deal”, JCPOA is an agreement between Iran and the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany and the EU to ensure its nuclear programme is limited to civilian use.

The deal, which was signed in October 2015 and implemented at the start of 2016, followed years of negotiation between the US, represented by then-Secretary of State John Kerry, and Iran, represented by Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif.


Trump threats over nuclear deal muffle Iran reformists

The agreement requires Iran to completely eliminate stockpiles of medium-enriched uranium and drastically reduce reserves of low-enriched uranium.

The material in its high-enriched form is required to produce nuclear weapons. Iran denies that it has ever had the aim of producing a nuclear weapon.

Iran also agreed to reduce the number of centrifuges capable of enriching uranium.

In return, UN sanctions related to Iran’s nuclear programme were lifted, as were some EU sanctions.

The US ended some secondary sanctions against non-US businesses and individuals who engaged in commercial activity with Iran.


Rouhani: World will condemn US if it quits nuclear deal

Frozen Iranian assets, valued at over $100bn, were also released back to Tehran.

Who ensures Iran abides by its side of the deal?

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has repeatedly confirmed Iran’s compliance with the deal.

Why does Trump need to certify Iran’s compliance with JCPOA?

The Obama administration faced heavy criticism from Republicans, as well as from some members of his own Democratic Party for signing up to the deal, which they saw as excessively compromising.

Opponents of the then-US president passed legislation requiring US presidents to certify Iran’s compliance with the deal every 90 days.

The Trump administration declared that Iran is complying with the nuclear deal in May and July, but threatened more sanctions for breaching the “spirit’ of the agreement.

The deadline for certification is October 15, but it is believed that Trump will announce his decision sooner.

White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said this week that the president “has reached a decision on an overall Iran strategy”.

Trump has repeatedly called the agreement the “worst deal ever” and had promised to tear it up even before he was elected.

What will happen if Trump refuses to certify the Iran nuclear deal? 

Trump has called the Iran deal ‘the worst deal ever’ [Michael Conroy/AP Photo]

If Trump refuses to certify, the issue goes to Congress.

Lawmakers will have a non-binding 60 day period to debate the deal.

Congress can decide to introduce or restore sanctions.

It remains to be seen whether that will actually happen as several prominent Republicans are undecided on the issue or do not want the deal to unravel.

Would Trump be violating the nuclear deal?

Not certifying the deal would not be a violation of JCPOA in itself, however, it does pave the way for Congress to introduce new sanctions, which could be in breach of US commitments under the agreement.

The onus on breaching the deal would, therefore, be with US lawmakers.

Would it be easy to introduce new sanctions?

While opposition to the Iran deal as it stands is strong, any attempt to scrap it would face resistance from members of the minority Democratic Party, as well as some Republicans, such as Senator Lindsay Graham, who has called on Trump to renegotiate parts of the agreement instead of scrapping it entirely.

How has Iran reacted?

Foreign Minister Zarif has threatened to partially or fully withdraw from the deal in the event of new US sanctions on Tehran.

Analysts say hardliners in Iran will be empowered by any US violation of the deal and would use it as an opportunity to block any further rapprochement with Washington.

“If anything Iran has gone out of its way to show it is compliant with the nuclear deal but what it will do is put pressure on the European countries to stand up for the deal for them to keep up with their part of the bargain,” Durham University’s Professor Anoush Ehteshami told Al Jazeera.

Iran reduced its enriched Uranium stockpiles and centrifuges as part of the deal [Mehr News Agency/AP Photo]

How have US allies reacted?

European leaders have taken the unusual step of publicly calling on the US to abide by the deal and have affirmed that Iran is upholding its commitments under JCPOA.

On Friday, the British embassy in Washington, DC took the unusual step of posting an animation on Twitter showing how Iran was complying with the deal.

French President Emmanuel Macron has told the US that not honouring its side of the deal could push Iran into producing a nuclear weapon in the future.

European states have enjoyed burgeoning trade ties with Iran since the deal came into force and experts say US breaches of the deal would damage its reputation as a reliable partner.

“Europe and the rest of the world would perceive the US as an international troublemaker and unreliable partner,” Arshin Adib-Moghaddam of the School of African and Oriental Studies said.



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Explaining the Iran nuclear deal 01:21

US ‘seeking excuses’ to destroy nuclear deal: Iran

September 15, 2017


© POOL/AFP/File | The flag of the Islamic Republic flies alongside the Stars and Stripes at talks in Vienna on July 14, 2015 at which Iran clinched a historic nuclear deal with major powers

TEHRAN (AFP) – The United States is “seeking excuses” to tear up the nuclear deal with Iran by demanding military site inspections, one of the Islamic republic’s top security officials said on Friday.”Iran has no undisclosed nuclear activity in any geographical location in the country,” the secretary of the Supreme National Security Council, Ali Shamkhani, said on state television.

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Ali Shamkhani

“The issues being raised are media hype by the Americans so that they can refrain from fulfilling their obligations.”

Washington has reportedly demanded inspections of Iranian military sites as part of verifying compliance with the 2015 nuclear deal, which restricted Iran’s atomic programme in exchange for an easing of sanctions.

The United Nations has stated there is no obligation to carry out military site inspections unless there are suspicions of illicit activity.

It says it has doubled inspections in Iran since the deal and has no evidence that nuclear material has been shifted to military or other sites.

Shamkhani accused the administration of President Donald Trump of “unconstructive and excuse-seeking behaviour… which is an active attempt to damage this international agreement”.

“Iran has merely acted within the framework of agreements and specific guidelines under the JCPOA (nuclear deal) and shall not accept any obligation beyond that,” he said.

He echoed Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, who tweeted on Thursday that the idea of reworking the nuclear deal was “pure fantasy”.

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Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif

“The #JCPOA is not (re)negotiable. A ‘better’ deal is pure fantasy. About time for U.S. to stop spinning and begin complying, just like Iran,” Zarif wrote.

Zarif is due to meet US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and the foreign ministers of other signatories of the nuclear deal on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly next Wednesday.

US President Donald Trump must recertify Iran’s compliance with the deal every 90 days and the next deadline falls on October 15.

On Thursday, he agreed to continue to exempt Iran from nuclear-related sanctions for now.

But he slapped new measures against targets accused of cyber attacks or fomenting militancy, and a senior administration official said the extension of sanctions relief was merely a “holding action”.

Hardliners in Washington have been pushing him to pull out of the agreement, saying it has failed to rein in Iran’s “destabilising” behaviour in the region.

Supporters of the deal point out that it never promised anything beyond restrictions on Iran’s nuclear programme, and that reneging would severely undermine Washington’s reputation and make it harder to forge similar agreements with countries such as North Korea.

Iran sends 1,100 tonnes of food to Qatar daily

June 22, 2017


© AFP/File | Iran began exporting food to Qatar days after an unprecedented Gulf crisis erupted, leaving the emirate without the land transport links it relies on to import food
TEHRAN (AFP) – Iran is shipping more than 1,000 tonnes of fruits and vegetables to Qatar every day after Gulf countries led by Saudi Arabia cut relations with Doha, Fars news agency reported Thursday.

Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Bahrain are among several countries which announced on June 5 the suspension of all ties to Qatar over what they say is its support for extremist groups and its political proximity to Iran.

Qatar denies the allegations.

Iran, an arch-rival of Saudi Arabia, began exporting food to Qatar days later as the unprecedented Gulf crisis left the isolated emirate without the land transport links it usually relies on to import food.

Mohammad Mehdi Bonchari, director of ports in Iran’s Boushehr province, said Tehran was shipping 1,100 tonnes of food each day to Qatar, Fars reported.

Iran has also flown food to the emirate.

On June 11, Iran’s national airline told AFP that it had sent five planes of vegetables to Qatar.

On the same day Fars quoted the head of Iran’s cattle exporting association as saying 66 tonnes of beef had been exported to Qatar, with another 90 tonnes of beef expected to follow.

Qatar’s air lines have been forced to re-route some of their flights to go over Iran to avoid the newly banned skies over Saudi Arabia, Yemen and Bahrain.

That has increased traffic in Iranian air space by 17 percent, the official state news agency has reported.

Iran has urged Qatar and Gulf neighbours to engage in dialogue to resolve their dispute.

Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has called for a permanent mechanism in the Gulf to resolve crises like the blockade against Qatar.

Iran nuclear deal reviewed as uncertainty grows

April 25, 2017


© AFP/File | Critics of Iranian President Hassan Rouhani charge that the 2015 nuclear deal has failed to bring anticipated economic benefits

VIENNA (AFP) – Iran and major powers were set to review adherence to their 2015 nuclear agreement on Tuesday, as uncertainty grows about the landmark accord’s future under US President Donald Trump.

The regular quarterly meeting was expected to hear, as Washington confirmed last week, that Iran is sticking to its deal with the US, Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany.

The accord saw Tehran drastically curb its nuclear activities in return for the lifting of Western and UN sanctions.

However, Trump has ordered a 90-day review, saying last Thursday that Iran was “not living up to the spirit” of the “terrible” deal because of its actions in other areas.

This refers to Iran’s support for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, rebels in Yemen and militias in Iraq and in Lebanon as well as Tehran’s ballistic missile programme.

US State Department spokesman Mark Toner said Monday the review would examine the nuclear accord “in the larger context of Iran’s role in the region and in the world, and then adjust accordingly.”

Trump’s Secretary of State Rex Tillerson last Wednesday expressed misgivings about the nuclear deal itself, in particular time limits in key areas.

Iran cut the number of centrifuges that “enrich” uranium — making it suitable for power generation and at high purities for a bomb — from about 19,000 to 5,000.

Together with other restrictions and ultra-tight UN inspections, Iran pledged to stay at this level for 10 years and not to enrich uranium above low purities for 15 years.

Its uranium stockpile will also stay below 300 kilograms — well short of what would be needed for an atomic bomb — for 15 years.

Tillerson said that the accord “fails to achieve the objective of a non-nuclear Iran” and had been a way of “buying off” Tehran “for a short period of time”.

– Tehran not satisfied –

Iran is not happy either, with critics of President Hassan Rouhani — facing a tough battle for re-election next month — charging that the nuclear deal has failed to provide all the promised economic benefits.

While nuclear-related sanctions were lifted, those related to human rights or missiles remained or have been expanded, frustrating Iran’s efforts to boost trade.

Last week Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif responded to Trump’s comments by saying that Washington was failing to live up not just to the spirit of the nuclear deal, but its wording too.

“So far, it has defied both,” Zarif said on Twitter.

Tuesday’s “Joint Commission” meeting from 0930 GMT among senior diplomats was to be held behind closed doors — in the same plush Vienna hotel where the deal was hammered out — with no press events planned.


Iran FM mocks US claims it is violating nuclear deal

April 21, 2017


© AFP/File | An Iranian woman walks past a mural on the wall of the former US embassy in Tehran

TEHRAN (AFP) – Iran’s foreign minister mocked US President Donald Trump’s claim Tehran was “not living up to the spirit” of the nuclear deal on Friday, saying Washington was flouting the accord.

“We’ll see if US prepared to live up to letter of #JCPOA (nuclear deal) let alone spirit,” Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif tweeted.

“So far, it has defied both. Should I use my highlighter again?”

Zarif is almost as avid a user of Twitter as Trump despite it being officially banned in Iran.

A day earlier, he hit back at US claims that the 2015 deal with world powers was a failure by highlighting certain sections and sharing them on Twitter.

He pointed to sections that require US government officials to “make every effort to support the successful implementation of this JCPOA including in their public statements” and to refrain from any policy intended to “adversely affect the normalisation of trade and economic relations with Iran”.

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Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad JavadZarif

Iran says the US continues to frustrate its efforts to rebuild trade ties with the rest of the world through remaining sanctions, and denies any desire to build a nuclear bomb.

Trump has regularly criticised his predecessor for signing the deal, which he described on Thursday as “a bad one, as bad as I’ve ever seen negotiated”.

He has ordered a 90-day review of whether to abandon it — a move that would be strongly opposed by the other signatories to the deal: Britain, China, France, Germany and Russia.

The US admitted this week that Iran has stuck to its side of the bargain, but Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said it would not stop Iran becoming a nuclear-armed state, and Washington officials regularly accuse Iran of fomenting unrest in the Middle East and sponsoring terrorism.


Iran Hits Back at “Worn Out” U.S. Accusations

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TEHRAN: Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif on Thursday criticized “worn-out” US accusations that it was seeking a nuclear weapon to threaten the region and the world.

“Worn-out US accusations can’t mask its admission of Iran’s compliance” with a 2015 nuclear deal, Zarif wrote on Twitter.

Iran says its nuclear program is purely for peaceful purposes but signed a deal with world powers to restrict its fuel enrichment for 10 years in exchange for sanctions relief.

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Wednesday that Tehran has so far met its obligations, but that the deal could only delay Iran’s development of a nuclear weapon.

The deal “fails to achieve the objective of a non-nuclear Iran,” he said, and was a product of “the same failed approach of the past that brought us to the current imminent threat we face from North Korea.”

Zarif said Iran’s compliance had forced the US administration of President Donald Trump “to change course and fulfill its own commitments.”

Trump described the accord as the “worst deal ever negotiated” during his campaign and threatened to tear it up, but analysts say that is increasingly unlikely.

Trump’s spokesman Sean Spicer said a review would be conducted by US government agencies over the next 90 days on whether to stick by the deal.

Iran warns US not to ‘create new tensions’ over missiles

January 31, 2017


© AFP | Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif says Iran’s missiles do not breach UN resolutions because they are for defence purposes

TEHRAN (AFP) – Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif on Tuesday warned the United States against “creating new tensions” with Tehran over ballistic missile tests.”We hope that Iran’s defence programme is not used by the new US administration… as a pretext to create new tensions,” Zarif said in a televised press conference with visiting French counterpart Jean-Marc Ayrault.

The UN Security Council is due to hold emergency talks called by Washington on Tuesday on Iran’s recent test-firing of a medium-range missile, which Tehran has not confirmed.

Zarif said Washington — under former president Barack Obama — and Paris had “repeatedly confirmed” that Iran’s missiles are not part of a landmark nuclear deal between Tehran and major powers.

Iran says its missiles do not breach United Nations resolutions because they are for defence purposes and not designed to carry nuclear warheads.

“We have always declared that we will never use our weapons against others except in our defence,” Zarif said.

Ayrault said France had expressed its concerns over the missile tests.

“France has expressed its concern at Iran’s continuation of its ballistic missile tests on several occasions,” he said.

He said the continued tests are “contrary to the spirit” of the Security Council resolution which enshrined a landmark July 2015 nuclear deal between world powers and Iran, and “hamper the process of restoring the confidence established by the Vienna agreement.”