Zarif says new U.S. legislation is a ‘big impediment’

December 22, 2015 - 0:0

TEHRAN – The Iranian foreign minister said on Monday that the grounds to implement the nuclear deal have been provided, but the new move by the U.S. Congress that clamps visa restrictions on people who have traveled to Iran has created a “big impediment”.

Mohammad Javad Zarif called on the U.S. to meet its commitments to the nuclear agreement, officially called the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

Zarif made the remarks in a joint press conference with Bulgarian Foreign Minister Daniel Mitov who arrived in Tehran on Monday.

In a separate meeting with Mitov, Iranian Majlis Speaker Ali Larijani also said the decision by the U.S. violates the JCPOA.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry wrote his Iranian counterpart on Saturday to assure him the visa changes approved by Congress last week won’t undermine business opportunities in Iran or violate the terms of the nuclear agreement.

---‘Congress move increases distrust’---

Ali Shamkhani, secretary of the Supreme National Security Council, also on Monday said the U.S. legislation increases “distrust” and “misunderstanding” which can negatively affect the process of implementing the JCPOA.

The Obama administration, pushing to support the international trade with Iran, has advised Tehran’s rulers not to worry about the new U.S. legislation

---‘Kerry has guaranteed implementation of JCPOA in letter to Zarif’---

Abbas Araqchi, the Iranian deputy foreign minister for legal and international affairs, also said on Monday that Kerry has guaranteed a successful implementation of the JCPOA in his letter to Zarif.

“This is not an ordinary letter. It has been signed by the U.S. secretary of state and has guaranteed successful implementation of the JCPOA,” Araqchi said.

He added that the U.S. visa waiver program will not affect implementing the JCPOA.

--- Logical ties---

During the meeting with the Bulgarian foreign minister, Zarif expressed hope that sanctions on Iran would be removed in December and Tehran and the European partners would step up a more “logical” relationship.

Zarif also said that Iran-Bulgaria cooperation benefits both countries’ people.

The two countries can have important cooperation in energy sphere, he added.

For his part, the Bulgarian foreign minister said the European Union’s strategy is to diversify the energy resources and Iran can play an important role in this respect.

Mitov also called for expansion of relations after the removal of sanctions. He also said Iran plays a “constructive” role in resolving international crises.

---Ties with Bulgaria will be expanded---

In his meeting with the Bulgarian foreign minister, Larijani said that the JCPOA will be implemented in the next two to three weeks and relations with Bulgaria will be expanded.

Larijani also slammed double standards in countering terrorism which has led to spread of this phenomenon.

Mitov said that efforts should be made to help establish democracy in Syria.