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Iran FM to visit New York, has no plans to meet US officials

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh

Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesman says top diplomat Hossein Amir-Abdollahian will travel to New York to attend the 76th session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA).

“Amir-Abdullahian will set off for New York tomorrow to participate at the General Assembly meeting,” Saeed Khatibzadeh said during a media briefing on Sunday.

So far, he added, about 45 bilateral meetings with foreign ministers of countries from different continents have been arranged for Amir-Abdullahian.

The spokesman also commented on reports that the foreign minister of Iran and the P4+1 group of countries — Britain, France, Russia, and China plus Germany — will meet in New York.

“Regarding the P4+1 meeting, I would like to emphasize that if we see this meeting can be in the direction of useful negotiation, we will make a decision. We have not made a decision now,” he said.

“What is important is that the foreign minister will have bilateral meetings with all the P4+1 foreign ministers. If there was a special agenda, it could be held collectively between Iran and the P4+1, but no decision has been made yet.”

Khatibzadeh also said the Iranian foreign minister has no plans to meet with US officials in New York.

The planned visit comes amid a pause in Vienna talks between Iranian and P4+1 delegations on a potential revival of the 2015 nuclear deal, formally called the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

Former US president Donald Trump left the JCPOA in May 2018 and re-imposed the anti-Iran sanctions that the deal had lifted. He also placed additional sanctions on Iran under other pretexts not related to the nuclear case as part of the “maximum pressure” campaign.

Following a year of strategic patience, Iran resorted to its legal rights stipulated in Article 26 of the JCPOA, which grants a party the right to suspend its contractual commitments in case of non-compliance by other signatories, and let go of some of the restrictions imposed on its nuclear energy program.

Now, the new US administration under President Joe Biden, says it wants to compensate for Trump’s mistake and rejoin the deal, but it is showing an overriding propensity for maintaining some of the sanctions as a tool of pressure.

Tehran insists that all sanctions should first be removed in a verifiable manner before the Islamic Republic reverses its remedial measures.

'SCO membership marks failure to isolate Iran'

Elsewhere in his remarks, Khatibzadeh said Iran’s recent permanent membership in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) marks “the virtual failure of the project by some parties, including the United States, to isolate Iran.”

“The Shanghai Cooperation Organization has enormous capacities to use. Both the SCO and Iran can utilize mutual capacities to improve relations and the position of the organization. Iran's membership in the SCO will make the organization stronger. The internal mechanisms of this organization are important to us and we are committed to improving these mechanisms through cooperation and assistance of the members,” he added.

On Friday, the Islamic Republic was accepted as a full member of the SCO after waiting for years as an observer to join the Eurasian political, economic and security alliance.


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