FM: Regional cooperation remains Iran’s priority
Iran says door open to talks despite nuclear cuts
Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif on Saturday thanked Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan for his “enlightening remarks” on the developments in Iraq.
Zarif expressed the gratitude as he met his Turkish counterpart Mevlut Cavusoglu on the sidelines of the Council of Foreign Ministers of the Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO) in the Turkish city of Antalya.
According to IRNA, the two ministers’ discussion revolved around bilateral ties, regional developments and the recent unrest in Iraq.
Erdogan on Friday, suggested that he knew who was behind the Iraqi protests and that they were probably planning to spread the protests to Iran.
“Who is behind this turbulence of Iraqi protests? We guess who initiated these protests and continue to do so, and even our analysis is that they are planning to bring the Iraqi protests to Iran,” he said.
Furthermore, Erdogan said that the unnamed conspirators behind the deadly protests in Iraq were after "dividing the Islamic World."
“Universal Muslim fellowship has no limits. No one can sow discord among us,” the Anadolu news agency quoted him as saying.
Iraqis have been protesting in the streets and since October 1 to voice their anger at unemployment and government corruption, has so far left nearly hundreds dead.
Highlighting the visit to Turkey, Zarif said, “Regional cooperation remains a priority” as Iran’s foreign policy “posits our neighbors should always come first.”
“We hope this cooperation can be welcomed by neighbors to our south, too,” Zarif wrote on Twitter in reference to the Persian Gulf Arab states.
Nuclear talks possible
Upon arrival in Antalya on Friday night, Zarif said Iran keeps the door open for negotiations over the fate of the 2015 nuclear deal despite its decision to further scale back its nuclear commitments.
Zarif referred to the Iran’s fourth step in reducing its commitments under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) in reaction to the US withdrawal from the deal and Europe's failure to fulfill its side of the bargain.
"We had made it clear that if the measures of other parties do not yield results, we'd take the next steps to decrease our JCPOA commitments," the top Iranian diplomat said.
"The [Iranian] president announced on the first day of scaling back the JCPOA commitments that we will continue the negotiations despite taking our steps within the framework of the JCPOA," he said, adding that Tehran started the talks from the very first day and "did not say no to negotiation."
"We will hold talks with those parties interested in preserving the JCPOA; the French will continue their consultations on the issue, and we will leave the door open for negotiation and understanding," Zarif noted.
Iran restarted enrichment at its Fordo nuclear facility on Thursday as the fourth step away from the 2015 accord.
The country had earlier reduced its commitments in three other phases, but the latest one, the injection of uranium hexafluoride (UF6) gas into centrifuges at Fordo, is believed to be the most important step so far, and a serious warning to other parties.
The nuclear deal was reached in Vienna in July 2015 between Iran and the P5+1 group of states -- the US, Britain, France, Russia, and China plus Germany. It lifted nuclear-related sanctions against Tehran, which, in turn, voluntarily changed some aspects of its nuclear energy program.
The United States, however, left the accord in May last year and reinstated its unilateral sanctions against Iran. The deal's European partners, meanwhile, have bowed to Washington’s pressure, failing to honor their contract obligations to protect Iran’s economy in the face of America’s “toughest-ever” bans.
Press TV contributed to this story.