Iran news headlines on Friday include Iranian FM expressing his hope for Kerry in his new post and urging a serious reaction to Israel’s air strike on a research center near the Syrian capital; fall of Iran’s crude exports to its Asian customers in 2013 due to sanctions; US warning Iran on upgrading its uranium enrichment centrifuges at Natanz plant and US Vice President alarming Iran on diplomacy over its nuclear programme not being unlimited.
Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi wished success to his new American counterpart John Kerry on Friday, and expressed the hope that he will manage to soften “anti-Iranian” US policy. Salehi said the former presidential candidate and senator was a known figure in the US foreign policy field and has good knowledge of current events in the Middle East.
Iran’s Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi warns of an international plot in Syria, urging a serious reaction to Israel’s aerial assault on a research center near the Syrian capital to prevent the regime from repeating such attacks.
The window for negotiations with Iran about its nuclear program cannot stay open for “too much longer,” outgoing U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said on Thursday but she declined to provide a deadline. “I don’t think the window can remain open for too much longer (but) I am not going to put days, weeks or months on it,” Clinton told a small group of reporters on the eve of her departure from the State Department.
Iran’s crude exports to its biggest customer, Asia, fell by a quarter in 2012 and shipments this year are expected to drop by at least 12 percent under U.S. sanctions pressure, but ample alternative supplies will keep refiners flush with oil.
Iran’s plans to upgrade its uranium enrichment centrifuges would be a “further escalation” in the nuclear stand-off, the US has warned.
White House spokesman Jay Carney said the move would also be in violation of UN resolutions on the issue. Iran earlier reportedly told the UN nuclear agency it planned an upgrade at its Natanz plant, which would allow to refine uranium at a faster rate.
US Vice President Joe Biden on Friday warned Iran that opportunities for diplomacy over its disputed nuclear programme were not unlimited, as he kicked off a three-country European tour. In an interview with the German Sueddeutsche Zeitung daily, Biden said the “burden of proof” that Iran was not seeking a nuclear weapon lay with the authorities in Tehran.
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