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Iran Can't Start Things All Over Again With US

Iran Can't Start Things All Over Again With US Iran Can't Start Things All Over Again With US

Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif says the 2015 nuclear agreement should serve as a basis for potential future negotiations between Iran and the United States, as it is not possible to start things all over again.  

"You need to be able to build on what you already have," he said in remarks to the New Yorker magazine published on its website on Monday. 

It is "impossible" to have talks and then go back to square one the following day, the chief diplomat said during his official visit to New York, where he attended the 73rd session of the United Nations General Assembly along with President Hassan Rouhani.

"You need to be able to have a relationship that is based on some foundations. And we have a document"—the nuclear deal—"that is a hundred and fifty pages long. It's not a two-page document," the foreign minister stated, the latter being US President Donald Trump's agreement with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un at their June summit.

 

>Door to Diplomacy 

Asked if the door to diplomacy with Washington is still ajar, Zarif said, "I'm not ruling out the prospect of talks, provided the necessary conditions for talks [are created], and that is reliability." 

"Reliability is different from trust. Reliability is that when you sign something, you are bound by it. Pacta sunt servanda is the old idiom, the basis of international relations," he added, referring to a Latin phrase, which translates as "treaties shall be complied with".

"Otherwise everything will fall apart," he said. "We are waiting for some sense of realism."

In May, Trump unilaterally pulled his country out of the nuclear accord, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, arguing that it does not cover all issues of concern to the United States. 

Trump also reimposed US economic sanctions on Iran, which had been lifted under the agreement, despite the fact that 12 reports by the International Atomic Energy Agency, the UN nuclear watchdog, have verified the country's compliance with the deal. 

The five other major powers to the agreement—Britain, China, France, Germany and Russia—have stuck by it. To circumvent renewed US sanctions, the European Union announced plans during the UN General Assembly week to create a new financial entity to facilitate transactions with Iran—a move that could also challenge US domination of the international financial system.

Trump has said he is ready to negotiate a new deal with Tehran, but Iranian officials have made it clear that the US should return to the nuclear deal for any negotiations to begin. 

 

>Sino-Iran Ties 

In an interview with China Global Television Network published on Tuesday, Zarif was asked how instrumental has China been in trying to salvage the nuclear agreement and whether it will continue to buy oil from Iran. 

"China is Iran's number one trading partner. And China is a very close friend of Iran. We have a comprehensive strategic partnership arrangement with China. And that is based on the decision of the leaders of the two governments," he said.

"So, we believe that our relationship with China is strong, we have been assured by the Chinese officials that they intend to continue their economic dealings with Iran. They intend to continue the purchase of oil from Iran and we hope that this is the case," Zarif said. 

The first round of sanctions, which included rules cutting off Iran and any businesses that trade with the country from the US financial system, went into effect in August.

A ban on Iranian oil purchases will start in November and American officials have been pushing allies to cut their oil imports from the third-largest producer among the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries to zero.  

China, Iran's biggest oil customer, has repeatedly said it is opposed to any unilateral sanctions and has defended its commercial ties with Tehran.

 

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