Revolutionary Guards Denounce “Fantasy of Iran-US Partnership”
Iran says that its next round of nuclear talks with the 5+1 Powers will be on January 18 in Geneva.
Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi, Iran’s lead nuclear negotiator, said the talks will be at the level of political deputies and will include bilateral sessions with the US and with Russia.
Iran and the 5+1 (US, Britain, France, Russia, China, and Germany) failed to reach a comprehensive agreement in late November and instead extended interim arrangements to July 1. In mid-December, there were three days of discussions at deputy level.
The two sides are still disputing the number and level of Iran’s centrifuges for enrichment of uranium. Tehran is insisting on a significant expansion of its capacity, through more centrifuges and/or advanced models, but the US and its allies are demanding a decrease.
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, addressing Parliament on Tuesday, implied that other issues had been resolved, “Today no one speaks of closing Fordo [enrichment plant] or Arak (heavy-water reactor).”
However, Zarif took a firm line on the fundamental of enrichment of uranium:
Today, no one speaks of enrichment outside Iran. Today no one has a word about enrichment in principle since today enrichment and moving towards industrialized enrichment has been accepted as an inalienable reality and no one doubts it anymore.
Commander: We Have 40-Kilometer “Red Zone” Inside Iraq Against the Islamic State
The commander of the Iranian Army’s ground forces declared Tuesday that Iran has a 40-km (25-mile) buffer zone inside Iraq against the advance of the Islamic State.
General Ahmadreza Pourdastan said Tehran had warned the jihadists about any movement toward the Iranian border since the Islamic State’s offensive last June: “When Takfiri Daesh terrorists [the Islamic State] penetrated western Iraq and were close to the Iranian borders, the ground forces were fully ready to annihilate them.”
He told reporters, “We marked a red line 40 kilometers into the Iraqi soil and warned that they will face Iran’s harsh response if they cross the line. The group received our message and fled the zone quickly.”
Tehran has sent high-ranking advisors, including the head of the elite Qods Forces, and troops from southwestern Iran into eastern Iraq. Missions have included assistance to Iraqi forces check the advance of the Islamic State towards key cities like Samarra, about 110 km (70 miles) north of Baghdad.
By EA WorldView
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