Nuclear Talks, Mideast Issues Not Linked

Nuclear Talks, Mideast Issues Not Linked
Nuclear Talks, Mideast Issues Not Linked

US Secretary of State John Kerry said on Saturday there was no link between talks on Iran’s nuclear program and other issues in the Middle East, Reuters reported.

“No conversation, no agreement, no exchange, nothing, has created any kind of deal or agreement (between Iran and the US) with respect to any of the events that are at stake in the Middle East,” Kerry told reporters in Beijing.

“There is no linkage whatsoever of the nuclear discussions with any other issue, and I want to make that absolutely clear. The nuclear negotiations are on their own.”  Kerry declined to comment on reports that US President Barack Obama has sent a letter to Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei about combating the Islamic State militant group.

The Wall Street Journal claimed on Thursday that Obama sent a letter to the Leader last month describing their shared interests regarding the Islamic State (IS) in Iraq and Syria. Ayatollah Khamenei said on September 15 that Iran had refused a US invitation to cooperate in fighting IS.

Kerry is to meet Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif in Muscat, Oman on Sunday, ahead of a November 24 deadline for a comprehensive nuclear deal between Tehran and the P5+1 (the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany).

The new US Senate, in which Republicans have a majority, is likely to be skeptical of any Obama deal with Iran.

The US President and Kerry are keen to avoid the impression they are making trade-offs as part of the nuclear deal.