TEHRAN (FNA)- Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif announced on Wednesday that Tehran and Washington are not due to meet on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly conference in New York later this month.
“No meeting has been planned between the Iranian and US officials on the sidelines of the UN members’ summit,” Zarif told reporters after a cabinet meeting in Tehran on Wednesday.
Meantime, Zarif said that the Iranian and US officials have in the past held negotiations within the framework of talks between Tehran and the Group 5+1 (the five permanent UN Security Council members plus Germany) over Iran’s peaceful nuclear program.
Iran and the Group 5+1 have held several rounds of talks on a range of issues, with the main focus being on Iran’s nuclear energy program.
The two sides wrapped up their latest round of negotiations on April 6 in the Kazakh city of Almaty. An earlier meeting had been held in the city on February 26-27.
The Iranian top diplomat also underlined Tehran’s readiness to hold talks with Washington, but only within the framework of talks with the world powers, reminding that the US is a member of the G5+1 states who are party to the talks with Iran over its nuclear program.
“If (it is proved that) the political resolve exists for the settlement the problems, we will be ready to hold talks (with the US) in this regard, but within the framework of the G5+1.”
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and Foreign Minister Zarif are slated to participate in the 68th annual meeting of the UN General Assembly in New York due to open on 17 September.
“The visit will certainly take place and he will travel to New York,” Zarif told reporters in Tehran earlier this month.
Elaborating on the agenda of Iranian President’s visit, he said, “Mr. Rouhani will have three speeches at the UN.”
Zarif said that Rouhani will first address the UN General Assembly followed by his speech at the nuclear disarmament summit as the president of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM)’s Secretariat and then an address to the NAM foreign ministers.
In August, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon invited Iranian President Rouhani to participate in the annual meeting of the UN General Assembly in September.
In a phone conversation with Zarif, the UN chief congratulated him on his success to win the Iranian parliament’s vote of confidence, and invited officially the Iranian president to partake in the annual meeting of the United Nations General Assembly which will be held in New York in September.
The Iranian president’s visit to the US is of high importance since Tehran and Washington are at loggerheads over different issues, including Iran’s peaceful nuclear program, regional developments, specially in Syria, etc.
Political observers believe that Rouhani who is called ‘a man of moderation’ can break the ice of relations between Iran and the US, while protecting Iran’s rights and position at regional and international levels.
In August, Democrat Congressman David Price voiced optimism about future talks between Tehran and the world powers, the US in particular, under Iran’s President Rouhani, and urged US President Barack Obama not to miss this significant opportunity.
He reiterated that it will be a big mistake if President Obama administration misses the chance of resolving the nuclear standoff with Iran following the election of President Rouhani.
The United States and Iran broke diplomatic relations in April 1980, after Iranian students seized the United States’ espionage center at its embassy in Tehran. The two countries have had tense relations ever since, but have shown willingness to attend talks to help resolve regional issues, including security in Iraq. Yet, the two countries have avoided talks on bilateral issues for the last thirty years.
Washington and its Western allies accuse Iran of trying to develop nuclear weapons under the cover of a civilian nuclear program, while they have never presented any corroborative evidence to substantiate their allegations. Iran denies the charges and insists that its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes only.
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