Zarif, Lavrov, Wang Discuss Region, Nuclear Issue

Zarif, Lavrov, Wang Discuss Region,  Nuclear IssueZarif, Lavrov, Wang Discuss Region,  Nuclear Issue

Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif attended a trilateral meeting with his Chinese and Russian counterparts in Moscow on Thursday on the sidelines of a high-level conference on security and stability in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) region, Fars news agency reported.     

In the meeting, Zarif discussed with Wang Yi and Sergey Lavrov the recent developments in the Middle East and briefed them on the latest status of the nuclear negotiations.

On regional developments, the top diplomats exchanged views on the situation in Yemen, Iraq and Syria and conferred on ways to counter the so-called Islamic State (IS) terrorist group.

Turning to the nuclear negotiations, the Chinese foreign minister called on the engaged parties to be "patient" and not make any new demands in a situation which has "become more complex now that the talks process is in its final stages," according to a Reuters report.

"(We) must push forward the next stage of talks on the basis of the Lausanne framework ... and all parties should not raise any new demands to prevent complicating the talks process," Wang was quoted as telling his Russian and Iranian counterparts.

"All sides' legitimate concerns ought to be paid attention to and rationally resolved; all sides should meet each other half way and not drift further apart," Wang said.

A swift agreement would benefit the global non-proliferation system as well as regional peace and stability, and China would continue to play a constructive role, he added.

Iran denies it nuclear program may have any military objectives, saying the work is solely for peaceful applications.

Iran and the major powers reached a preliminary understanding on the key points of a final nuclear pact in the Swiss city of Lausanne on April 2 and are now involved in talks to meet an end-June deadline to finalize a long-term settlement.   

***Beijing Eyes Strategic Ties

In a bilateral meeting with Zarif on the same day, the Chinese foreign minister said China has always eyed, in its long-term agenda, establishment of strategic ties with Iran while preserving the existing friendly relations with Tehran, IRNA reported.

"China tends to boost and expand historical ties with the Islamic Republic in such fields as energy," Wang noted.

Pointing to the Chinese government's intention of reviving the Silk Road through the so-called "One Belt, One Road" (OBOR) plan, Wang hoped the project will create new opportunities for Tehran-Beijing cooperation in industrial fields and investment to help serve mutual interests.


During an October 2013 visit to Kazakhstan, Chinese President Xi Jinping outlined his vision of a Silk Road Economic Belt (SREB), and shortly later the concept of the 21st Maritime Silk Road was presented by him in Jakarta. Together, this "One Belt, One Road" (OBOR) will create trade corridors connecting East and Southeast Asia with most of the rest of Asia, Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

Wang also hoped that in the course of the ongoing nuclear talks, Iran and the major powers will demonstrate political resolve and make every effort to reach a final accord in the shortest possible time, bearing in mind the most significant aims of the talks.

"Today, we are witnessing the negotiations continue over the remaining issues after the Lausanne statement to reach a comprehensive agreement, and it is totally natural to be faced with a difficult process," he noted.

Zarif, for his part, praised the "constructive role" of China in the nuclear negotiations. Referring to the complexities in the talks over the remaining issues, he hoped all sides will remain committed to the Lausanne statement.


Elsewhere, Zarif reiterated readiness on behalf of the Islamic Republic to participate in the OBOR plan.   

***Cooperation Agreement

Earlier in the day, in a separate meeting with his Russian counterpart, Zarif expressed Tehran's readiness to work with Russia on a joint agreement on strategic cooperation, IRNA reported.

Hailing Russia's role both as a large neighboring country and as an influential member of the P5+1 (the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany) engaged in the nuclear talks, Zarif described the current status of Tehran-Moscow economic ties as "promising".  He called on the two sides to identify and utilize potential capacities for collaboration.   


Lavrov, in turn, welcomed enhancement of bilateral relations and highlighted the role Russia plays in the nuclear talks to help seal a final accord.

The Russian diplomat said Moscow welcomes wide-ranging strategic cooperation with Tehran, especially in the fields of banking and oil industries.