Publishe Date: 4:16 PM - 12/10/2013 | Print

Iran seeks lifting of all bans at final stage of talks

Politics - The Iranian Foreign Ministry says Tehran regards the removal of all sanctions imposed against the Islamic Republic as the final stage of the nuclear negotiations with world powers.

Iran’s Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Marziyeh Afkham said on Tuesday that according to a plan proposed by Iran, the final stage of the negotiations would lead to the removal of all unilateral, multilateral and UN Security Council sanctions imposed against Tehran.

Afkham dismissed reports about the US Congress’ efforts to impose new sanctions against Iran in six months as an attempt to create hype against the negotiations.

Chairman of US Senate Foreign Relations Committee Robert Menendez and Republican Senator Mark Kirk are trying to forge an agreement on a bill that would target Iran’s oil exports, foreign exchange reserves and industries in six months in case talks between Tehran and the six world powers fails.

This is while according to the deal sealed between Iran and the six countries - Britain, China, France, Russia the US and Germany - no new sanctions should be imposed against Iran in the course of six months.

Meanwhile, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has warned that the deal would be “dead” if the US Congress voted for further sanctions against the Islamic Republic.

“The entire deal is dead. We do not like to negotiate under duress. And if Congress adopts sanctions, it shows [a] lack of seriousness and [a] lack of desire to achieve a resolution on the part of the United States,” Zarif told the Time Magazine released on December 9.

On November 24, Iran and the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany reached an interim deal aimed at laying the groundwork for the full resolution of the decade-old dispute over Iran’s nuclear energy program.

In exchange for Tehran’s confidence-building bid to limit certain aspects of its nuclear activities, the sextet agreed to ease some of the existing sanctions against the Islamic Republic.

Cooperation pact between Iran and Afghanistan

Afkham also said Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani and his Afghan counterpart Hamid Karzai sealed a “comprehensive friendship pact” during their meeting on Sunday in Tehran.

The Iranian official added that according to the agreement, the foreign ministers of the two countries will begin the process of preparing the text of the pact, which will include political, security, economic, social and cultural aspects.

Afkham expressed hope that the cooperation pact would strengthen the expansive relations between Iran and Afghanistan.

Karzai traveled to Tehran on Sunday at the head of a high-ranking delegation to discuss key bilateral and regional issues with Iranian officials.

Obama’s remarks on Iran talks

The Foreign Ministry spokeswoman rejected US President Barack Obama’s recent claim about secret talks between Tehran and Washington.

Afkham added that all talks between Iran and the US were within the framework of the negotiations with the six world powers and over the country’s nuclear energy program.

Obama on Sunday claimed that Iran and the US held secret talks prior to the resumption of the negotiations between Iran and the six countries that resulted in the interim deal.

Russian foreign minister’s visit to Iran

Commenting on an upcoming visit by Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov to Iran, Afkham said the Russian diplomat will hold talks with senior Iranian officials, including Zarif and Rouhani.

“The two countries regularly discuss bilateral, regional and international issues,” Afkham said, adding that Lavrov’s visit is aimed at holding talks over the latest bilateral developments.

Lavrov will reportedly pay an official visit to Tehran on December 10-11 to discuss “topics concerning bilateral relations, regional problems and steps to resolve issues related to [Iran’s] nuclear program in light of the agreements that were recently reached in Geneva.”

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