Heart of Asia: Iran minister lashes out at US Senate on sanctions; Sartaj arrives a day early

Iran on Saturday said it feels the nuclear  agreement with the US is “not in jeopardy” even as it hit out at the US Senate vote to extend the Iran Sanctions Act (ISA) for 10 years, which it said “lowe

Published: 04th December 2016 12:28 AM  |   Last Updated: 04th December 2016 10:01 AM   |  A+A-


Pakistan Prime Minister’s foreign policy adviser Sartaj Aziz (File|AFP)

Express News Service

AMRITSAR/NEW DELHI : Iran on Saturday said it feels the nuclear agreement with the US is “not in jeopardy” even as it hit out at the US Senate vote to extend the Iran Sanctions Act (ISA) for 10 years, which it said “lowers American credibility”.

“The nuclear agreement is not a bilateral agreement but a multilateral agreement that came after everything failed,” Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said in New Delhi.

His comments came after the US Senate voted 99-0 this week to extend the ISA. Iran maintains that the measure will be a violation of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), a nuclear agreement between Tehran and the Group 5+1 (Russia, China, the US, Britain, France and Germany). 

Asked if the sanctions meant that the nuclear deal is in jeopardy, Zarif said, “I don’t think that the nuclear deal is in jeopardy,” but noted that the resolution in the American Senate dents the credibility of the US.

Meanwhile, in a last-minute change of schedule, Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s Foreign Policy Advisor Sartaj Aziz reached Amritsar on Saturday evening. Earlier, he was scheduled to reach on Sunday for the Heart of Asia conference and return the same day.

As he reached a day in advance, speculations were rife that he would have bilateral talks with India. However, officials from the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) ruled out this possibility. 

It was learnt that Aziz rescheduled his visit citing the forecast of uncertain weather on Sunday. Aziz is leading the Pakistani delegation to the conference that focuses on regional cooperation between Afghanistan and its neighbours to improve connectivity and tackle security threats in the war-torn country. 

Hours after his arrival, Aziz attended a dinner where he exchanged pleasantries with Prime Minister Narendra Modi. He also sent a bouquet to External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj at her residence in Delhi, extending his wishes for her speedy recovery. With Swaraj indisposed, as she is unwell, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley will represent India at the ministerial conference. 

Modi and Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani will jointly inaugurate the ministerial deliberations of the conference, which will see over eight foreign ministers and dignitaries of 14 participating countries, on Sunday. Modi and Ghani paid obeisance at Golden Temple and were given a red carpet welcome. 


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