Iran top diplomat urges Biden to return to nuclear deal
DUBAI (Reuters) - Iran's foreign minister urged Washington to act fast to return to the nuclear accord, pointing out that legislation passed by parliament forces the government to harden its nuclear stance if U.S.
DUBAI (Reuters) - Iran's foreign minister urged Washington to act fast to return to the nuclear accord, pointing out that legislation passed by parliament forces the government to harden its nuclear stance if U.S. sanctions are not eased by Feb. 21.
Mohammad Javad Zarif also referred to elections in Iran in June. If a hardline president is elected, this could further jeopardize the deal.
“Time is running out for the Americans, both because of the parliament bill and the election atmosphere that will follow the Iranian New Year,” Zarif said in an interview with Hamshahri newspaper published on Saturday. Iran’s new year begins on March 21.
The parliament, dominated by hardliners, passed the legislation in December that set a two-month deadline for an easing of sanctions.
Biden’s administration is exploring ways to restore the 2015 nuclear deal that Iran signed with major world powers but that was abandoned in 2018 by former President Donald Trump, who restored sanctions.
Iran retaliated by breaching the terms of the accord in a step-by-step response. Last month, it resumed enriching uranium to 20% - a level it achieved before the accord.
Biden has said that if Tehran returned to strict compliance with the pact, Washington would follow suit and use that as a springboard to a broader agreement that might restrict Iran's missile development and regional activities.
Tehran has insisted that Washington ease sanctions before it resumes nuclear compliance, and ruled out negotiations on wider security issues.
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken discussed Iran on Friday in a virtual meeting with his British, French and German counterparts as the group weighed how to revive the deal.
“The more America procrastinates, the more it will lose … it will appear that Mr. Biden’s administration doesn’t want to rid itself of Trump’s failed legacy,” Zarif said in the interview.
“We don’t need to return to the negotiating table. It’s America that has to find the ticket to come to the table,” he added.
On Monday, Zarif hinted at a way to resolve the impasse over which side moves first, by saying the steps could be synchronized.
Separately, Iran's Foreign Ministry said on Saturday that a new U.S. stand on the Yemen war could be a helpful step, after President Joe Biden said this week Washington was ending its support for a Saudi Arabia-led military campaign in Yemen.
"Stopping support ... for the Saudi coalition, if not a political manoeuvre, could be a step towards correcting past mistakes," state media quoted ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh as saying.
But he added, "This alone won't solve Yemen's problem, and the air, sea and land blockade that killed thousands of people in the country due to a lack of food and medicine must be lifted, and the military attacks of the aggressor states led by Saudi Arabia must be ended".
Biden said on Thursday that the more than six-year war, widely seen as a proxy conflict between Saudi Arabia and Iran, "has to end." He also named veteran U.S. diplomat Timothy Lenderking as the U.S. special envoy for Yemen in a bid to step up American diplomacy to try to end the war.
(email@example.com; Editing by Frances Kerry)
This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.
By Robin Emmott and John Irish | BRUSSELS/PARIS BRUSSELS/PARIS France and Germany will agree to a U.S. plan for NATO to take a bigger role in the fight against Islamic militants at a meeting with President Donald Trump on Thursday, but insist the move is purely symbolic, four senior European diplomats said.The decision to allow the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to join the coalition against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq follows weeks of pressure on the two allies, who are wary of NATO confronting Russia in Syria and of alienating Arab countries who see NATO as pushing a pro-Western agenda."NATO as an institution will join the coalition," said one senior diplomat involved in the discussions. "The question is whether this just a symbolic gesture to the United States
BEIJING Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday called for greater efforts to make the country's navy a world class one, strong in operations on, below and above the surface, as it steps up its ability to project power far from its shores.China's navy has taken an increasingly prominent role in recent months, with a rising star admiral taking command, its first aircraft carrier sailing around self-ruled Taiwan and a new aircraft carrier launched last month.With President Donald Trump promising a US shipbuilding spree and unnerving Beijing with his unpredictable approach on hot button issues including Taiwan and the South and East China Seas, China is pushing to narrow the gap with the U.S. Navy.Inspecting navy headquarters, Xi said the navy should "aim for the top ranks in the world", the Defence Ministry said in a statement about his visit."Building a strong and modern navy is an important mark of a top ranking global military," the ministry paraphrased Xi as saying.