British FM Delivers Tehran Visit Report to Parliament

British FM Delivers Tehran Visit Report to Parliament British FM Delivers Tehran Visit Report to Parliament

Following his two-day trip to Tehran, British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson delivered a report on the visit to the UK House of Commons, where he outlined the topics discussed at his meetings with top Iranian officials.

Referring to his negotiations with Iran's senior officials, including President Hassan Rouhani, Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and the head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, Ali Akbar Salehi, on Saturday and Sunday, Johnson said he was "frank about the subjects where our countries have differences of interest and approach, but our talks were constructive nonetheless," according to a transcript of his remarks posted on the UK Parliament's official website.

He said the nuclear deal, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, offered a new opportunity for reopening UK's relations with Iran.

"In every meeting, I stressed that the UK attaches the utmost importance to preserving this agreement," he said.

JCPOA came into force in January 2016 to remove sanctions on Iran in exchange for restrictions on its nuclear activities. But US President Donald Trump has voiced strong opposition to the agreement, threatening to "terminate" it unless his demands for fixing perceived flaws are addressed.

Johnson has on many occasions expressed support for the international agreement and full commitment to it. He recently made a trip to Washington to persuade US officials to remain compliant with the historic accord.

"For the JCPOA to survive, Iran must continue to restrict its nuclear program in accordance with the deal and the International Atomic Energy Agency has verified Iran's compliance so far," the top British diplomat said, calling on other parties to "keep their side of the bargain" so that Iran's economic interests are guaranteed.

Behrouz Kamalvandi, the AEOI spokesperson, said Johnson and his government have realized that it is not viable to uphold the 2015 nuclear agreement without guaranteeing Iran's interests in the deal.

  Frank Talks on Region

In his statement to the parliament, Johnson accused Iran of playing what he claimed a "disruptive role" in the region, including in Yemen and Syria.

He said "our discussions on these subjects were frank and constructive", though he and Iranian officials did not see eye to eye on all issues.

Regarding the conflict in Yemen, the foreign minister proposed that Houthi fighters "must stop firing missile at Saudi Arabia" and urged his Iranian counterparts to use their influence to end the attacks.

He also raised bilateral issues, particularly the case of dual nationals such as Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, saying, "I urged their release on humanitarian grounds."

On the case of the Iranian-British convict, Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Bahram Qasemi has said that the government has no constitutional jurisdiction over the case of Zaghari-Ratcliffe, but it is pursuing the case on humanitarian grounds.

Zaghari-Ratcliffe, claimed to be a charity worker affiliated with the Thomson Reuters Foundation, was arrested just before leaving Iran in April 2016.

She is now serving a five-year jail sentence for spreading propaganda against the Iranian government.


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