Iran nuclear deal signatories reiterate commitment to pact

United Nations, Sep 26 (Prensa Latina) Iran and the parties to the nuclear deal signed in 2015 agreed to maintain efforts to preserve that pact, considered a milestone of international relations.

During a meeting here this Thursday, cited by international media, there was consensus among representatives of the Islamic Republic, Germany, France, China, the United Kingdom and Russia, plus the head of foreign policy of the European Union (EU), regarding the need to maintain the pact.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammed Yavad Zarif described as positive the extraordinary meeting between foreign ministers of signatory nations of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.

Federica Mogherini, head of EU foreign policy, assured that all parties are committed to preserving the pact, although this is increasingly difficult.

According to Mogherini, France, Britain, Germany, Russia, China and Iran agreed to continue efforts to keep the treaty alive, from which the United States withdrew in May 2018 at the behest of President Donald Trump.

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Iran urges US to abandon ‘warmongering’ policy as arch-hawk Bolton leaves White House

Washington should give up its policy of aggression toward Tehran, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has said. His remarks come hours after outspoken regime-change connoisseur John Bolton stepped down as national security adviser.

During a cabinet meeting on Wednesday, Rouhani pressed the US to “abandon warmongering and its maximum pressure policy” on Iran, and warned that failing to reverse course would further degrade Tehran’s commitments under the 2015 nuclear deal.

Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif made similar calls for a US policy U-turn, tweeting on Wednesday that Washington’s “thirst for war” should end with the departure of its “warmonger-in-chief” Bolton.

A government spokesman said after the cabinet meeting that Bolton’s departure could help US policymakers have a “less biased” attitude toward the Islamic republic. Tehran stressed, however, that Bolton’s removal would not change its position on dialogue with Washington.

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“The departure of US National Security Advisor John Bolton from President Donald Trump’s administration will not push Iran to reconsider talking with the US,” Tehran’s United Nations envoy Majid Takhteravanchi said.

US President Donald Trump announced Bolton’s dismissal on Tuesday, tweeting that he had “disagreed strongly with many of his suggestions.” Bolton claims that he’d actually resigned before Trump’s announcement.

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Iran will give Europe two months to save nuclear deal - Rouhani

Europe has two months to negotiate sanctions relief for Tehran, otherwise the country will initiate ‘phase three’ in its rollback of commitments under the 2015 nuclear deal, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has said.

“Europe has another two-month deadline for negotiations, agreement, and a return to its commitments,” Rouhani warned at a cabinet meeting on Wednesday.

Tehran has been calling on the EU to provide relief from the sweeping sanctions that were imposed by Washington after the US unilaterally left the 2015 deal, known as the JCPOA. Iranian officials have warned that they will gradually reduce their commitments under the agreement if this does not happen.

In early July, Iran activated the ‘first phase’ of this strategy by increasing its stockpile of enriched uranium beyond the 300kg limit imposed by the JCPOA. The ‘second phase’ – enriching uranium beyond 3.67 percent – was effected shortly afterwards.

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Rouhani didn’t specify what the next step would be, but he hinted that it would play an important part in transforming the nation’s nuclear program.

“The third step is of an extremely important nature, and will considerably accelerate the activities of the country’s nuclear energy organization,” he said.

Rouhani stressed that the impact of the move “will be extraordinarily huge.”

France previously suggested offering Iran $15 billion in credit lines if it returns to complying with the JCPOA in its entirety. The move would help Iran to negate US sanctions, which have targeted its oil trade and financial sector. Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi confirmed that the country would revert to the agreement if the EU continues to buy oil from Iran or provides a suitable credit line.

Washington insists that sanctions are necessary to pressure Iran into shutting down its nuclear and ballistic missile programs, as well as cutting ties with several militant groups in the Middle East. Tehran, however, denies any wrongdoing and says the sanctions are unjustified and illegal under international law.

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Iranian president says U.S. has failed on every path taken against the Islamic Revolution

Tehran, July 14 (RHC)-- Iranian President Hassan Rouhani says the United States has failed on every path it has taken against Iran.  President Rouhani told a large crowd of people in the northeastern city of Shirvan, in North Khorasan Province, that whatever Washington had tried against Iran -- including “the harshest of sanctions” -- had wound up in failure.

“It’s been 14 months that the world’s largest economic and military power has been imposing the harshest of sanctions against the Iranian nation, sanctions that would have taken any other nation down,” the Iranian president said. “But the heroic, vigilant, and resistant nation of Islamic Iran has firmly withstood those sanctions over this period.”

“Whatever path the Americans took — be it social, political, and legal — led to failure,” President Rouhani said.  He pointed to recent meetings of the United Nations and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), where the U.S. failed to advance its agenda against Iran.

Iran says the UN nuclear watchdog’s special meeting held at Washington’s request backfired and turned into another failure for Americans.

Last year, U.S. President Donald Trump unilaterally pulled his country out of a 2015 multilateral nuclear deal with Iran and imposed what he called the “toughest ever” sanctions against Tehran, notably targeting its energy sector.

Those sanctions have hurt the Iranian economy, but all of the other parties to the Iran deal, which have stayed in the agreement, have been holding meetings with Tehran to discuss how they can make the pact properly work for the Iranian side as well.

Tehran has said it would potentially scrap the deal if its partners failed to do enough for Iran to achieve the economic benefits that it is promised under the agreement.

Edited by Ed Newman
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Trump says he would ‘certainly’ go to war with Iran ‘over nuclear weapons’, but not right now

US President Donald Trump said he would consider military action against Iran to prevent it from getting nuclear weapons. The row between Tehran and Washington escalated after the US accused Iran of attacking two oil tankers.

“I would certainly go over nuclear weapons,” Trump told Time Magazine on Tuesday when asked what would make him consider declaring war on Iran. “And I would keep the other a question mark.”

The report did not specify whether the president elaborated on the scenario of launching a full-fledged armed conflict with the Islamic Republic over its nuclear program. When a reporter asked Trump if he was considering military action against Iran right now, he replied: “I wouldn’t say that. I can’t say that at all.”

His remarks came a day after the Pentagon said that it will deploy 1,000 extra troops to the Middle East “for defensive purposes.” The US blamed Iran for the attack on two oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman. Washington released a grainy video, allegedly showing Iranian sailors removing a limpet mine from one of ship’s hull, but did not provide any other evidence to support its case. Tehran rebuffed the allegations, saying that it had nothing to do with the incidents.

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Also on Tuesday, Iran announced that, in just 10 days, it would increase its uranium stockpiles beyond the limits allowed under the 2015 nuclear deal, known as the JCPOA. The US pulled out of the agreement last year and re-imposed sanctions on Iran. Officials in Tehran say they will return to full compliance with the deal if the EU, another signatory of the agreement, reaffirms its commitments.

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Tehran rejects Macron’s call for wider intl talks beyond nuclear deal – ministry

Iran rejected French calls for wider international talks over its nuclear and military ambitions, according to a state TV report.

President Emmanuel Macron had said the previous day that Paris and Washington both wanted to stop Tehran getting nuclear arms and new talks should focus on curbing its ballistic missiles program.

Iran’s Foreign Ministry said on Friday it would not hold any discussions beyond the 2015 pact which US President Donald Trump abandoned last year. “Talking about issues beyond the deal… will lead to further mistrust among the remaining signatories of the deal,” Reuters quoted Foreign Ministry spokesperson Abbas Mousavi as saying.

“The Europeans have so far failed to fulfill their commitments under the deal and… to protect Iran’s interests after America’s illegal withdrawal,” Mousavi added.

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The Only Thing that Works with Iran is Respect,' Iranian FM Said

Tehran, June 3 (Prensa Latina) Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammed Yavad Zarif has demanded respect for his nation, which, according to him, it is the only possibility of listening to the other side.

In an interview with ABC TV, broadcast in Tehran on Monday, Zarif passed remarks on the book 'The Art of Agreement', written by Donald Trump, in which the US president describes some trading methods.

It may progress in the market, but not with Iran, Yavad Zarif said, and added that it can be effective with other nations in a short period and not in the long term, 'but not with Iran in a short period, or in the medium and long term. The only thing that really works with Iran is respect', he said.

Zarif warned threats never work with Iran; try with some respect, that can really work, he added.

According to Zarif, Iranians will not lost courage by the art of the agreement pressure, the strategy followed by the US government with sanctions to renegotiate another nuclear agreement.

In any case, he said, there will be serious consequences if the United States holds its economic pressure campaign, which he termed as an economic terrorism that affects the Iranian people.

'If President Trump's objective is to impose pressure on ordinary Iranians, he is certainly getting done', but he will not make up with his political goals by using pressure', he said.

The Iranian FM rejected claims about an alleged Iranian threat to the region and replied that the US Navy is really the one that destabilizes.

'We call this region Persian Gulf for just one reason, it is by our side. We have the right to defend ourselves. What if Iran went to California or Florida coasts', he asked.

The United States, he denounced, is the one sending nuclear warships to our jurisdictional waters, to our region.

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Iran’s short-range missile can reach US fleet in Gulf – Revolutionary Guards deputy commander

The deputy commander of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards has said that the US fleet in the Gulf is already within striking distance of his country’s short range missiles, adding that the US could not sustain a new war in the region.

“Even our short-range missiles can easily reach (US) warships in the Gulf,” Mohammad Saleh Jokar, the IRGC’s deputy for parliamentary affairs, was quoted by the Fars news agency as saying Friday. Jokar added that the US would be unable to sustain a conflict with Iran on account of financial, personnel and social reasons.

It marks the latest escalation in a war of words between the two countries as tensions mount amid renewed sanctions and political pressure from the US, along with a build-up of US forces in the region.

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“Iran is not after a conflict in the region but has always defended its interests powerfully and will do so now too,” Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said Thursday.

US carriers always deploy as part of a battlegroup so Iran’s large fleet of smaller fast boats would find it very difficult to get within striking distance without themselves being destroyed by US surface warships.

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The guided missile destroyers USS Gonzalez and USS McFaul recently joined the USS Abraham Lincoln Strike Group on stand-by off the coast of Oman.

In recent years, Iran has developed the Khalij Fars (‘Persian Gulf’) anti-ship ballistic missile, which uses infrared guidance to slam a 1,433lb warhead into moving naval targets. Iran also unveiled the Mach 4 version of the Khalij Fars, the Hormuz -1 and -2 which is designed to seek out enemy radar systems and destroy them.

The Persian Gulf is quite narrow (ranging from 35 miles to 220 miles across in parts), for a carrier battle group and could afford the IRGC the opportunity to amass launchers within range of the US fleet with relative ease.

The consequences of any armed conflict between Iran and the US “would be literally incalculable” according to James Jatras, a former US diplomat and GOP Senate policy adviser.

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“One doesn’t really know where this goes next – let’s suppose Iran strikes the UAE or the Saudi oil fields or strikes the Israelis ... then what do those parties do next?” Jatras told RT.com, emphasizing that the conflict would quickly escalate to include US regional allies in the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Israel.

“Especially the Israelis who everybody knows have nuclear weapons. Although I doubt very much they would use those unless they were really down to an existential threat.”

Jatras also warned that “Moscow and Beijing would be foolish to stand back and watch the US take another piece off the chessboard” despite Pompeo’s attempts at warning the Kremlin against involvement in any potential conflict with Iran.

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