Zarif's Chatham House Prize Belongs to Nation

Zarif's Chatham House Prize Belongs to NationZarif's Chatham House Prize Belongs to Nation

Iran's top diplomat believes the Chatham House Prize he jointly won with his US counterpart, John Kerry, recognizes the Iranian nation for their fortitude in the face of international sanctions, the Foreign Ministry's spokesperson said.

Mohammad Javad Zarif and Kerry were selected for their role in crafting the 2015 nuclear deal, which has eased sanctions in return for curtailing Tehran's nuclear program.

"Zarif believes the resistance of the great Iranian nation, who managed to successfully weather years of pressure and sanctions, was the reason why he was awarded the prize," Bahram Qasemi was quoted as saying by IRNA on Monday.

The Chatham House Prize is presented annually to a person, persons or organization deemed by members of the London-based Royal Institute of International Affairs to have made the most significant contribution to the improvement of international relations in the previous year, wrote.

This year, members voted for Kerry and Zarif in recognition of their crucial roles, throughout 2015, in successfully negotiating the historic accord between Iran and major powers, considered to be one of the most intractable diplomatic standoffs in international affairs in the 21st century.

The deal was one that many thought impossible. Overcoming enormous technical complexity, entrenched domestic opposition in the United States and Iran, as well as three decades of intense hostility between their two countries, Kerry and Zarif's leadership and commitment, in particular, were imperative to sustaining and driving the negotiations to their successful conclusion.

With the vital participation of officials from other permanent members of the UN Security Council, Germany and the EU, they secured a deal, endorsed by the UN Security Council and more than 90 countries, which was a victory for diplomacy.

***Unique Award

The selection process of the winner(s) is independent, democratic and draws on the deep knowledge of Chatham House's research teams, making the prize a distinctive and unique award in the field of international affairs.

A shortlist of nominees is selected by the institute's three presidents from a longer list submitted by the research programs and departments in their areas of expertise.

The recipient is then determined by Chatham House's members based on a one-member, one-vote basis.

The Chatham House Prize was launched in 2005.

Qasemi said Zarif would not be able to attend the prize-giving ceremony due to "a tight work schedule".

In a relevant development, US State Department Spokesman John Kirby defended his boss, Kerry, for accepting the award despite criticism from the domestic opponents of the deal.

An AP reporter asked Kirby during the State Department daily press briefing on Monday about the timing of the award and whether Kerry was comfortable receiving it now, noting that much of the deal's outcomes are still unknown with some conclusions yet to be seen.

"I think he's comfortable accepting it on behalf of the whole team that was involved in it and I think the secretary would take issue with the continued criticism about the degree to which the deal makes the region and the United States safer; he believes it does," Kirby said.

"About the degree to which Iran is complying with their commitments, thus far they have been and so have we."

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