Publishe Date: 10:22 PM - 12/16/2013 | Print

Zarif Phones Kerry, Ashton to Stress Iran’s Protest against US Fresh Sanctions

Politics - Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif in separate phone calls with US Secretary of State John Kerry and EU Foreign Policy Chief Catherine Ashton voiced Tehran’s discontent with the recent sanctions imposed by the US against Iranian firms and individuals.

In his phone talk with Kerry, Zarif discussed the recent developments in the implementation of the joint agreement reached by Iran and the Group 5+1 (the five permanent UN Security Council members plus Germany) and underlined that his country is disgruntled at the US fresh sanctions against Iran.

The Iranian foreign minister also phoned Ashton to once again reiterate that the two sides should step towards confidence-building measures.

On November 24, Iran and the five permanent United Nations Security Council members sealed a six-month accord to lay the groundwork for the full resolution of the West’s decade-old dispute with Iran over its nuclear energy program.

In exchange for Tehran’s confidence-building bid to limit certain aspects of its nuclear activities, the Sextet of world powers agreed to lift some of the existing sanctions against Tehran and continue talks with the country to settle all problems between the two sides.

Iran and the six world powers (the US, Russia, China, France, Britain and Germany) had an expert meeting in Vienna, Austria, on December 9. The negotiations were scheduled to continue until December 13, but the Iranian negotiators cut short the talks and returned to Iran in protest at the US breach of the Geneva agreement by blacklisting a dozen companies and individuals for evading Washington’s sanctions.
On Sunday, Zarif deplored Washington's recent move, and said Tehran would show a well-assessed and goal-oriented reaction to any measure adopted by the world powers in violation of the deal.
“The Americans have taken improper measures in the last few days and we have given the appropriate response to them after considering all aspects of the issue,” Zarif said on Sunday.

He stressed that Tehran is seriously pursuing the Geneva negotiations with the Group 5+1 (the US, Russia, China, Britain and France plus Germany), “and we will, of course, show proper, well-assessed, targeted and smart reaction to any improper and unconstructive measure (of the opposite side even if it doesn’t violate the Geneva agreement)”.

Meantime, the foreign minister said the nuclear negotiations are moving on a rough path with many ups and downs before the attainment of the final results, "which is not something unexpected as we had foreseen this since the very first day”.
Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister and senior negotiator in talks with the world powers Seyed Abbas Araqchi is slated to meet with EU Foreign Policy Chief Catherine Ashton in Brussels, Belgium, Tuesday morning.
Araqchi and Ashton will meet at 8:00 am local time (10:30 Tehran time) in the Belgian capital tomorrow to discuss the trend of the ongoing talks between Iran and the Group 5+1 (the five permanent UN Security Council members plus Germany) and the latest developments with regard to the deal signed between Iran and the six world powers in Geneva.

Araqchi is currently in Berlin, Germany, where he has had meetings with several influential figures.

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