Moscow-Tehran Cooperation Proved Effective in Fight against Terrorism: Zarif

MOSCOW- Cooperation between Tehran and Moscow has proved effective in the fight against terrorism, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said at a meeting with his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov on Wednesday.

"Cooperation between Iran and Russia has proved very effective in the fight against terrorism and extremism in our sensitive region," Zarif said.

He added that Iran is ready to ‘move in the same direction’ with Russia to successfully hold the Syrian National Dialogue Congress in Sochi, Itar Tass reported.

 "We are committed to cooperating with you and our Turkish friends and moving in the same direction so that the Congress that will be held in Sochi finds a way for the political settlement of the crisis in Syria," the Iranian foreign minister said.

According to him, the Sochi meeting will help achieve success at the UN-sponsored peace talks in Geneva.

Representatives of Russia, Iran and Turkey announced at a meeting held in Astana that the Syrian National Dialogue Congress would be convened in the Black Sea resort of Sochi on January 29-30, 2018. The participants in the forum are said to focus on drafting a new Syrian Constitution and holding elections on its basis under the UN umbrella.

According to the Iranian top diplomat, meetings between presidents and talks involving foreign ministers, as well as cooperation aimed at resolving bilateral and regional issues, "will bring peace and stability to our people and region."

Tehran calls on the nuclear deal participants to continue implementing it, he said.

"Unfortunately, one of the participants in the JCPOA [Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action] has not only failed to fully implement its obligations but has also been pursuing a destructive policy," he said. "We and other JCPOA participants need to maintain close cooperation in order to ensure that this accomplishment will continue to be realized," Zarif added.

The Iranian top diplomat thanked Russia’s authorities and his counterpart in particular for playing a role in reaching agreements related to the JCPOA. "I have already said that the JCPOA is one of the few accomplishments that the global community managed to achieve in the recent years. As you have noted, the IAEA many times stressed and confirmed that Iran was committed to the implementation of the JCPOA," he added.

White House Press Secretary Sara Sanders said earlier at a briefing that in the coming days Washington would announce its decision concerning the fulfillment of its obligations under the JCPOA for Iran’s nuclear program.

Russia to stand up for viability of Iran nuclear deal — Lavrov

On his part, Lavrov said that Russia will stand up for viability of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) on Iran’s nuclear program.

"It is important to share views on how Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) is being implemented," Lavrov said. "We note IAEA Director General’s clearly-defined statement that Iran meets its commitments in full."

"We will advocate for viability of this deal and its most significant contribution to regional stability and to solving the issue of nonproliferation of weapons of mass destruction," he underlined.

The deal on Iran’s nuclear program was reached between Iran and six international mediators (the United Kingdom, Germany, China, Russia, the United States, and France) on July 14, 2015. Under the deal, Iran undertakes to curb its nuclear activities and place them under total control of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in exchange of abandonment of the sanctions imposed previously by the United Nations Security Council, the European Union and the United States over its nuclear program.

After Tehran had implemented its part of the deal, which was confirmed during IAEA’s inspection trips, on January 16, 2016 the US administration under President Barack Obama lifted sanctions imposed on Iran over its nuclear program. Nevertheless, many other restrictions, for instance over Iranian ballistic missiles, remained in place. On October 13, 2017, current US President Donald Trump refused to confirm Iran was implementing the nuclear deal.