Mideast, Economy to Top Zarif’s 2nd Term Agenda

The Foreign Ministry will not allow the US to undermine the economic benefits Iran is entitled to under the nuclear deal
Mideast, Economy to Top Zarif’s 2nd Term Agenda Mideast, Economy to Top Zarif’s 2nd Term Agenda

Mohammad Javad Zarif, who is nominated to serve a second term as Iran's top diplomat, said his priorities are to help reduce tensions in Tehran's relations with regional states and employ diplomacy to advance Iran's economic interests overseas.

He was speaking on Wednesday in a meeting with members of Majlis National Security and Foreign Policy Commission to elaborate on his plans if he retains control over the diplomatic apparatus, ISNA reported.

Reelected President Hassan Rouhani unveiled his list of Cabinet picks for all but one of the 18 ministerial roles on Tuesday, without naming a nominee for the position of science minister. Keeping roughly half of his first Cabinet's members, particularly those in charge of key ministries of foreign affairs and oil, suggested that Rouhani will continue with policies that center on broadening Iran's international engagement.

In the coming days, Rouhani's picks will be going back and forth to Majlis to outline their plans of action and vie for confirmation votes before lawmakers vote next week.

Zarif said his second four years in office would saw the ministry's increased efforts at bridging yawning chasms in the region.

"We have no intention to aggravate tensions in the region. We want calm among countries," he said.

Zarif said an economic department has been established in the Foreign Ministry to give it a central role in coordinating Iran's economic activities in the world.

"Despite having inadequate facilities in other countries, we have put support for Iran's private sector on our agenda," he said.

  US Would Pay for Killing JCPOA    

Commenting on the 2015 nuclear deal involving Iran and world powers, Zarif said the body under his watch would not budge from defending the interests of the nation and would do its best to prevent the US from limiting the benefits Iran is entitled to.

"They can't impose the cost of the collapse of the accord on Iran. If Americans want to block the JCPOA, they'll have to pay the price," he said, using the abbreviation for the formal name, Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.

Zarif was Iran's chief negotiator in two years of nuclear talks that settled a lingering dispute between Tehran and western capitals accusing it of seeking nukes.

The deal is facing tirades by the controversial US President Donald Trump who has vowed to dismantle or renegotiate the pact and has imposed a raft of new sanctions on Iran since taking office in January.

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