Spokeswoman Says Details of Zarif-Kerry Phone Call Confidential
TEHRAN (Tasnim) – Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Marziyeh Afkham described a recent telephone conversation between Iranian foreign minister and US secretary of state as something customary in diplomacy, but declined to provide details of the contact.
During a recent telephone conversation, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and US Secretary of State John Kerry discussed the recent developments regarding the Geneva nuclear deal and other related issues, Afkham said in her weekly press conference here in Tehran on Tuesday.
She further stated that the media’s expectation for more information on details of the telephone conversation is “respectable”, but insisted that “not all the news could be publicized.”
The spokeswoman also added that the American side made the phone call and that Foreign Minister Zarif conveyed Iran’s dissatisfaction with the US decision to blacklist some 19 companies and individuals said to have contravened the anti-Iran sanctions.
Last week, the Treasury Department announced it would freeze assets and ban transactions for companies and individuals that attempt to evade US sanctions and continue doing business that helps Iran’s nuclear industry.
Secretary of State John Kerry supported the Treasury’s move, saying that it is just a continuation of the existing sanctions.
The blacklisting is widely seen as an attempt to head off moves in Congress to impose tougher sanctions that would be in clear breach of the Geneva agreement.
Zarif told Washington Post on Sunday that despite “extremely counterproductive” American sanctions against Iran, his country is committed “100 percent” to reaching a comprehensive final agreement over its nuclear program.
“We will seriously pursue the Geneva talks, and we will of course give a proper, calculated, purposeful and smart response to any improper and unconstructive action,” he added.
The new bans can be the bane of the Geneva deal of last month as the sides are still in talks on ways of implementing the document. The move prompted Iranian negotiators to leave ongoing talks in Vienna Thursday evening, arguing the new measures were in breach of the agreement brokered in Geneva last month.
Iran and the Group 5+1 (the five permanent UN Security Council members plus Germany) on November 24 signed a six-month deal on Tehran’s nuclear program based on which the world powers agreed to suspend some non-essential sanctions and to imposed no new nuclear-related bans in return for Tehran's decision to freeze parts of its nuclear activities and to allow more inspection of its nuclear facilities.
During the half-year period, Iran and the G5+1 are due to negotiate a comprehensive deal with the aim of resolving for good the standoff over Iran's nuclear program after a decade of on-off meetings and failed attempts.