Iranian Official Blames Senate’s Sanctions Threats for Hurting Nuclear Negotiations

The country’s foreign minister said a final agreement could pave the way for cooperation in other areas.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif shakes hands with Secretary of State John Kerry after a statement on a landmark deal with Iran halting parts of its nuclear program Nov. 24, 2013 in Geneva.
National Journal
Jordain Carney
Add to Briefcase
Jordain Carney
Feb. 18, 2014, 12:20 p.m.

Con­gress’s battle over in­creas­ing sanc­tions against Ir­an has caused “a great deal of con­cern” for Ir­a­ni­ans, For­eign Min­is­ter Mo­hammad Javad Za­rif said on Tues­day, but he stressed that ne­go­ti­ations are the only way for­ward for both sides.

“From an Ir­a­ni­an per­spect­ive “¦ what has happened in the last two months has been less than en­cour­aging,” Za­rif said, speak­ing at a Uni­versity of Den­ver event via web­cast from Vi­enna.

Za­rif met with Cath­er­ine Ashton, the European Uni­on’s for­eign policy chief, in Vi­enna on Tues­day, to kick off form­al talks over reach­ing a long-term deal on Ir­an’s nuc­le­ar pro­gram. Ashton is rep­res­ent­ing the United States, United King­dom, France, Ger­many, Rus­sia, and China dur­ing the talks.

He stressed that “state­ments can­not be lim­ited to one audi­ence,” re­fer­ring to the back-and-forth between U.S. and Ir­a­ni­an of­fi­cials who have of­ten ac­cused one an­oth­er of say­ing one thing dur­ing private ne­go­ti­ations and an­oth­er thing when speak­ing to a do­mest­ic audi­ence.

But the Ir­a­ni­an of­fi­cial said the West and Ir­an share the com­mon goal of mak­ing sure Ir­an’s nuc­le­ar pro­gram is purely peace­ful. He stressed that Ir­an is at the ne­go­ti­at­ing table “be­cause of a single over­rid­ing fact, and that is, we have no oth­er op­tion. If you want to re­solve this is­sue, the only way to re­solve it is through ne­go­ti­ations.”

And while he ac­know­ledged that the sanc­tions tar­get­ing the coun­try have crippled its eco­nomy, Za­rif ad­ded that “if the in­ten­tion was to stop the Ir­a­ni­an nuc­le­ar pro­gram, the policy has miser­ably failed.”

Un­der an in­ter­im agree­ment dip­lo­mats reached in Novem­ber, of­fi­cials have un­til late Ju­ly to agree on a long-term deal, but Za­rif dis­missed a spe­cif­ic time frame, not­ing that “there is no end date” be­cause of the “com­mon ob­ject­ive” the coun­tries have.

Al­though the six-month peri­od can be ex­ten­ded, Za­rif said he is hope­ful a fi­nal agree­ment can be reached by the Ju­ly 20 dead­line, but that it would take more than “one or two sit­tings”.

Za­rif largely sidestepped what oth­er top­ics Ir­an and the West could tackle if a long-term agree­ment is reached, say­ing that he is “real­ist­ic enough to fo­cus on this par­tic­u­lar pro­ject,” but he did sug­gest that the two sides could co­oper­ate on a rise in ex­trem­ism.

What We're Following See More »
INDUSTRY ALREADY CUTTING BACK IN ANTICIPATION
Trump Makes Good on Threat to Tax Solar Imports
14 minutes ago
THE DETAILS

"In the biggest blow he’s dealt to the renewable energy industry yet, President Donald Trump decided on Monday to slap tariffs on imported solar panels. The U.S. will impose duties of as much as 30 percent on solar equipment made abroad, a move that threatens to handicap a $28 billion industry that relies on parts made abroad for 80 percent of its supply. Just the mere threat of tariffs has shaken solar developers in recent months, with some hoarding panels and others stalling projects in anticipation of higher costs."

Source:
GOP MUST REDRAW MAP BEFORE 2018 ELECTION
Pennsylvania Supreme Court Strikes Down Electoral Map
3 hours ago
THE DETAILS
Source:
ENVISIONS PUBLIC-PRIVATE INVESTMENT COOPERATION
Text of White House Infrastructure Bill Leaks Online
3 hours ago
THE DETAILS

Text from the Trump Administration's planned infrastructure program were published online. According to the documents, 50 percent of funds appropriated for the program will be used to encourage "state, local, and private investment in core infrastructure by providing incentives in the form of grants. Federal incentive funds will be conditioned on achieving milestones within an identified time frame." An additional 10 percent of funds are earmarked for "innovative or transformative" infrastructure projects, 25 percent for rural infrastructure projects, 7 percent for federal lending programs, and 5 percent to create a financing fund for "large-dollar real property purchases." White House spokeswoman Lindsay Walters said: “We are not going to comment on the contents of a leaked document but look forward to presenting our plan in the near future."

Source:
IT’S OFFICIAL
Senate Votes to End Shutdown
4 hours ago
THE LATEST
DACA VOTE TO COME
Dems Agree to Take McConnell’s Deal
4 hours ago
THE LATEST

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said he's accepting Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's offer to hold an immigration vote at a later date, "clearing the way for passage of a bill to reopen the federal government" today. "McConnell early Monday promised to take up an immigration bill that would protect an estimated 800,000 Dreamers from deportation, under an open amendment process, if Democrats would agree to end the government shutdown."

Source:
×
×

Welcome to National Journal!

You are currently accessing National Journal from IP access. Please login to access this feature. If you have any questions, please contact your Dedicated Advisor.

Login