Iran says US sanctions intended to derail efforts to save nuclear deal

From left, French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas and Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif walk, during a meeting of the foreign ministers from Britain, France and Germany with the Iran Foreign Minister and EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini, at the Europa building in Brussels, Tuesday, May 15, 2018. (AP/Olivier Matthys, Pool)
Updated 16 May 2018
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Iran says US sanctions intended to derail efforts to save nuclear deal

  • Iran has described the new US sanctions as illegal and has warned that if talks to rescue the accord fail, it would ramp up its nuclear program to a level more advanced than before

LONDON: Iran said on Wednesday that new sanctions imposed on it by Washington were an attempt to derail efforts to save the 2015 nuclear deal by its remaining signatories following the US withdrawal from the accord.
The US Treasury on Tuesday imposed sanctions on Iran’s central bank governor, three other individuals and an Iraq-based bank, a week after US President Donald Trump abandoned the deal Iran signed with world powers to curb its nuclear program.
Iran has described the sanctions as illegal and has warned that if talks to rescue the accord fail, it would ramp up its nuclear program to a level more advanced than before.
“With such destructive measures, the American government is trying to influence the will and decision of the remaining signatories of the JCPOA (nuclear agreement),” Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Qasemi was quoted as saying by Fars news agency.
British, French and German foreign ministers met in Brussels on Tuesday to see how they can save the nuclear deal without the United States, but appeared hard-pressed over how their companies could continue doing business with Iran once Washington begins to reimpose sanctions.
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said the meeting had been a good start, but he wanted to see guarantees materialize.
The Europeans and Iranians have now tasked experts to come up with measures quickly and will meet again in Vienna next week.


Turkey to host four-nation summit on Syria crisis

Updated 1 min 4 sec ago
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Turkey to host four-nation summit on Syria crisis

  • Russia and Turkey reached an agreement last month to set up a demilitarized zone around the northwestern Syrian province of Idlib
  • The Kremlin confirmed Vladimir Putin’s participation in the summit

ANKARA, Turkey: A summit between the leaders of Turkey, France, Germany and Russia will be held in Istanbul this month to discuss the conflict in Syria and efforts for a lasting solution to the war in the Arab country, a Turkish official said Friday.
Presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin, in a written statement said the summit will take place on October 27.
Russia and Turkey reached an agreement last month to set up a demilitarized zone around the northwestern Syrian province of Idlib preventing a government offensive on the last rebel stronghold in the country.
Idlib has been calm ever since although some militant groups did not meet an Oct. 15 deadline to evacuate the demilitarized zone that surrounds Idlib province. Many feared that a government offensive in Idlib would trigger a new refugee crisis as the region is home to some 3 million people many of them displaced by war from other parts of Syria.
Russia is a main backer of Syrian President Bashar Assad’s government while Turkey has been helping insurgents trying to remove him from power.
Kalin said all aspects of the Syrian conflict are expected to be discussed, including the situation on the ground, the Idlib agreement and efforts for a lasting solution to the conflict.
German government spokeswoman Martina Fietz announced that German Chancellor Angela Merkel will be attending the summit.
A statement by France’s Elysee Palace said Paris intends primarily to promote the maintenance of the ceasefire in Idlib to avoid a humanitarian catastrophe and a new mass wave of refugees, and the effective launch of an inclusive political process in accordance with UN Security Council Resolution 2254.
“These two objectives will be at the center of discussions between Heads of State and Government,” the statement said.
Security Council resolution 2254 from December 2015 called on top UN officials to convene the two sides of the Syrian conflict “to engage in formal negotiations on a political transition process.”
The Kremlin confirmed Vladimir Putin’s participation in the summit and said it would focus on political settlement and conditions for the return of Syrian refugees.
Asked if the Kremlin was expecting a breakthrough at the meeting, Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov told the RIA Novosti news agency that “this meeting is not about breakthroughs.”