Kerry Praises Zarif’s Patriotism, Skills

Kerry Praises Zarif’s Patriotism, SkillsKerry Praises Zarif’s Patriotism, Skills

US Secretary of State John Kerry praised as a "capable negotiator" and a "patriot" his Iranian counterpart and his co-recipient of the Chatham House Prize Mohammad Javad Zarif for jointly leading efforts to broker the Iran nuclear deal.

"And I want to acknowledge particularly my co-recipient … our Iranian counterpart, Foreign Minister Javad Zarif. I'm sorry that he isn't able to be here. We tried to coordinate schedules and coordinate this event," Kerry said in an address to the Chatham House Prize ceremony in London on Monday, wrote.

"But I want to make it clear that Javad is a very tough, very capable negotiator and a patriot all the time who fought hard for his nation's interests while always trying to find a constructive way to solve the problems that we both understood were gigantic hurdles for both of our countries and both of our peoples, for our politics, and the divisions that exist at home for each of us," he said, according to a transcript of his speech posted on the US State Department website.

Zarif and Kerry were selected for their role in crafting the July 2015 nuclear accord between Iran and major powers, which has eased sanctions in return for curtailing Tehran's nuclear program.

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.

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.

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.

Iran's Foreign Ministry Spokesman Bahram Qasemi announced last week that Zarif would not be able to attend the prize-giving ceremony due to "a tight work schedule".


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