Iran daily: FM Zarif has nuclear talks with Kerry, Then warns US about new sanctions

Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif met US Secretary of State John Kerry in Davos, Switzerland, and then warned Washington against any new sanctions to pressure Tehran over its nuclear program.

Speaking on a panel at the World Economic Forum, Zarif said that if the US Congress imposes more sanctions, the Iranian Parliament “will adopt something requiring the government…to increase our [uranium] enrichment”.

The Foreign Minister continued that “anyone who torpedoes the interim nuclear agreement” between Iran and the 5+1 Powers (US, Britain, China, Russia, Germany, and France) “should be isolated by the international community, even if it is the US Congress”.

Iran and the 5+1 have been unable to reach a comprehensive agreement over the Islamic Republic’s uranium enrichment and the lifting of US-led sanctions, instead extending interim arrangements to July 1.

The White House has warned Congress against additional sanctions against Iran while nuclear talks are ongoing. President Obama has also warned Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu against any attempt to push the legislators towards restrictions.

Zarif maintained, despite a failure in week-long talks earlier this month to close the gap on the key issues, that there is “a very good probability” of a final resolution: “We have an agreement that has the prospect of reaching a comprehensive agreement. Now it’s the time for the international community to stand firm against a process that will unravel an extremely important achievement.”

He denied that sanctions had forced Iran into negotiations and concessions, saying instead that Tehran wanted “change its dynamics” in relations with other countries.

No details were given of the meeting between Zarif and Kerry or of a 5-hour discussion between the political deputies of Iran and the 5+1 Powers.

(Featured Photo: AFP)

China’s Oil Imports from Iran Continue Rise, at Highest Level Since 2011

China’s oil imports from Iran continue their recovery, rising almost 30% last year to their highest average level since 2011.

China took almost 550,000 barrels per day in 2014, close to the 555,000 bpd in 2011 before the effect of US and European Union sanctions.

December imports were 604,740 bpd, up 17% from November.

Iran’s oil exports recovered in 2014 to about 1.4 million bpd, from a historic low of less than 800,000 bpd, but are still more than 40% below their 2012 level.

Rouhani Extends Condolences to Saudi Arabia Over King Abdullah’s Death, Zarif to Attend Service in Riyadh

President Rouhani extended his condolences to the Saudi Arabian government and nation on Friday over the death of King Abdullah.

“I pray for the forgiveness of the bygone, patience of his family, and success and prosperity for the Saudi nation and Government,” Rouhani said in the message.

The President has sought engagement with the Saudis but has been checked by hardliners within Iran. However, this week Iran’s leading official for relations in the Middle East, Secretary of the National Security Council Ali Shamkhani, said Tehran would welcome discussions with Riyadh on all matters — including the sharp fall in global oil prices and the threat of the Islamic State in the region.

In a sign of that engagement, the Foreign Ministry said that Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif will attend an official funeral service for King Abdullah in Riyadh on Saturday.

By AE WorldView


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