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Iran’s Zarif, EU’s top diplomat meet in Oslo

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has met and held talks with the European Union (EU)’s Foreign Policy Chief, Federica Mogherini, on a range of issues, including the 2015 multilateral nuclear deal with Iran.

According to Press TV, Minister Zarif and High Representative Mogherini exchanged views on international and regional issues as well as the nuclear accord, officially called the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), in the Norwegian capital, Oslo, on Monday. On his arrival at the Oslo Airport, Zarif told reporters that he had sent two messages to Mogherini in the past few weeks about the US’s failure to live up to its commitments under the JCPOA and the consequences of Washington’s “destructive policies” in that regard. The issue had been discussed in the latest session of a joint commission that monitors the implementation of the JCPOA and would be on the agenda of the commission’s future meeting, he said. The top Iranian diplomat also stressed that the JCPOA was currently being implemented in its natural manner as the Islamic Republic and the EU member states were committed to the deal.

Zarif said the US’s failure to honor its obligations was not a new issue and that Iran had little economic interaction with the US beyond the purchases of aircraft, which he said proceeded well despite the US’s failure to perform in other areas.

Iranian airlines have placed orders for American-made Boeing aircraft worth a total of around 19.6 billion dollars, purchases made possible under the terms of the JCPOA. While attempts have been made at the US Congress recently to block the sale of those aircraft to Iran, the implementation of the deals between the Iranian airlines and Boeing seems to face no hindrance as the JCPOA is clear in that area.

Zarif also stressed that the US could not affect Iran’s relations with other countries.

The administration of US President Donald Trump, which took over in January this year, has been apparently opposed to the nuclear accord, which was negotiated under the former US administration.

The US Congress has been a stronger opponent of the deal, however. Last week, the US Senate voted overwhelmingly to advance a bill that would impose new sanctions on Iran over its missile program, which Tehran has repeatedly said is defensive, and analysts have expressed concern that the new US measure can undermine the JCPOA.

Zarif said the Senate’s move showed “the US’s short-sightedness” and was a sign of the “wrong policy” adopted by the US government. He said Iran would “definitely” react if a reaction was found warranted “based on the joint commission’s discretion.”

The Iranian foreign minister has traveled to Norway to participate in the Oslo Forum, which gathers leading armed conflict mediation practitioners. On the sidelines, he is expected to hold more one-on-one meetings with participating dignitaries.

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