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US must take concrete, objective steps on JCPOA: Iran FM

5 June 2016 20:43



Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif says the US should take more objective steps to guarantee international banking transactions with Iran under last year’s nuclear agreement between Tehran and the P5+1 group of countries.

“In our view, the first step toward facilitating banking transactions has been taken, but the Americans must now resolutely and seriously take objective steps [in this regard],” Zarif said in a meeting with Armenian Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian in Tehran on Sunday.

He added that Iran is closely monitoring all the outcomes of the process.

Iran and the five permanent members of the UN Security Council – the United States, France, Britain, China and Russia – plus Germany started implementing the nuclear agreement clinched by the two sides, also known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), on January 16.

Under the deal, all nuclear-related sanctions imposed on Iran by the European Union, the Security Council and the US would be lifted. Iran has, in return, put some limitations on its nuclear activities. However, many large European banks still refrain from engaging in transactions with Iran for the fear of US penalties.

Zarif also pointed to cordial relations between Iran and Armenia and the exchange of visits between their officials and expressed hope that “constant consultations will help expand the two countries’ relations and promote regional peace, development and welfare.”

He said Tehran and Yerevan have the potential to strengthen cooperation in the international scene, adding, “Regarding the recent crisis in the Karabakh region, we urge the two sides to exercise self-restraint and are ready to make all efforts for the establishment of peace and security in the region.”

In early April, Azerbaijani and Armenian troops used artillery, tanks, and other armaments against each other on a scale not seen since a separatist war concluded in 1994. According to reports, nearly 75 servicemen from both sides along with a number of civilians were killed in the latest skirmishes between the hostile neighbors.

Armenian servicemen fire an artillery shell toward Azeri forces from their positions in the town of Martakert in the Armenian-seized Azerbaijani region of Karabakh, April 3, 2016. © AFP

A Russian-mediated truce went into effect later that month, but sporadic clashes have since continued.

The Karabakh region, which is located in the Azerbaijan Republic but is populated by Armenians, has been under the control of local ethnic Armenian militia and the Armenian troops since a three-year war which claimed over 30,000 lives and ended in 1994.

Zarif further called for an “appropriate” level of economic cooperation between Tehran and Yerevan and said the two sides can expand and facilitate projects with regional countries in the gas, electricity and railway sectors.

The Armenian foreign minister, for his part, said his country regards the JCPOA as the biggest political event in 2015, adding that the nuclear agreement can be a model for the settlement of many conflicts.

Nalbandian added that Armenia is ready to boost banking transactions with Iran.

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