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Lifting sanctions to boost Moscow-Tehran cooperation: Russia

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Moscow: The expected lifting of the sanctions on Iran will boost cooperation between Moscow and Tehran, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Monday.

The cooperation in the military-technical sphere was of particular importance due to threats and challenges in the Caspian region, Lavrov said after meeting here with his Iranian counterpart, Mohammad Javad Zarif, Xinhua reported.

“It is an important task to prevent the threats and risks in the region,” Lavrov said.

Iran and the six countries it has been negotiating with over its nuclear programme, the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany, wrapped up their protracted talks on July 14 with a historic 100-page accord.

Zarif said the lifting of the sanctions against Iran has opened wide prospects for cooperation between Tehran and Moscow, including in the nuclear sector.

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Image Source: english.farsnews.com

“We had a very good dialogue on this issue,” Zarif said without giving further details.

(IANS)

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Russia, Iran, Syria warn the United States against launching new strikes on Syria

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said the circumstances surrounding the chemical attack in the Syrian town of Khan Sheikhoun that killed more than 80 people were still not clear

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U.S. Navy guided-missile destroyer USS Porter (DDG 78) conducts strike operations while in the Mediterranean Sea which U.S. Defense Department said was a part of cruise missile strike against Syria, VOA

Syria, April 15, 2017: Russia, Syria and Iran have warned the United States against launching new strikes on Syria and called for an international investigation into the chemical weapons attack in Syria.

The foreign ministers from Russia, Syria and Iran, meeting Friday in Moscow, said any further unilateral action by the U.S. in Syria would be met with “grave consequences” and pose a danger to the entire world.

The U.S. fired 59 Tomahawk missiles at Syria’s al-Shayrat air base last week in response to a chemical weapons attack in Syria days earlier.

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Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said the circumstances surrounding the chemical attack in the Syrian town of Khan Sheikhoun that killed more than 80 people were still not clear.

He criticized the world’s chemical weapons watchdog, the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, for not sending experts to the site of the attack to investigate.

“We consider it unacceptable to analyze events from a distance,” he said. Lavrov said the investigation should also be widened to include experts from many nations.

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Russia has rejected accusations from Western countries that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad was behind the attack. Russia has alleged that the victims were killed when Syrian warplanes hit a rebel chemical arsenal. The U.S. accuses Assad of deliberately launching the attack.

“The use of chemical weapons as a pretext for violation of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of an independent state — a member of the United Nations — is a very dangerous activity,” Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said. “It is essential to prevent such acts as the events in Khan Sheikhoun in [the] future.”

Lavrov said the U.S. missile strike on Syria was Washington seeking “excuses for regime change.” He added, “These attempts will not succeed, this will not happen.”

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Lavrov met Friday with his counterparts from Syria and Iran after U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson visited Moscow earlier this week. Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Moallem said Friday’s meeting sent a “strong message” to Washington.

Russia and Iran are strong allies of Assad’s government and have backed the president during Syria’s six-year civil war. (VOA)

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Sanctions on Tehran uplifted after historic nuke deal

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New Delhi: US and EU lifted economic sanctions against Iran after the implementation of historic nuke deal with Tehran.

About $100 billion of Iran’s assets would be released after the deal is implemented and it will be easier for India and other countries to do business with Tehran.

India, which had substantially reduced its oil imports from Iran under US pressure, can now freely import oil from Tehran, but would now have to pay for it in dollars.

Due to the sanctions, India has been paying Iran in Indian rupees, with the money kept in an Indian account. India has to now release an estimate of $6 billion in pending oil payments to Iran.

President Barack Obama signed an executive order lifting some of the US economic sanctions on Iran, the White House announced.

Secretary of State John Kerry issued a statement confirming the International Atomic Energy Agency has verified that Iran “has fully implemented its required commitments”.

“Iran has undertaken significant steps that many, and I do mean many, people doubted would ever come to pass.

“And that should be recognized, even though the full measure of this achievement can only be realized by assuring continued full compliance in the coming years,” Kerry said.

With the implementation of deal reached last July, the US, “our friends and allies in the Middle East, and the entire world are safer because the threat of the nuclear weapon has been reduced”, he said.

In exchange for lifting sanctions, Iran must reduce its level of uranium enrichment, dramatically reduce the size of its stockpile of enriched uranium, reduce the number of centrifuges, and agree to unfettered international inspections.

The implementation came hours after Iran freed four American prisoners, including Washington Post journalist Jason Rezaian, in exchange for seven Iranian prisoners. Another American, who was not a part of the exchange, was released.

But several Republican presidential candidates criticized the prisoner swap with frontrunner Donald Trump saying that Iran was getting more in the deal than the US.

“They’re getting seven people, so essentially they get $150 billion plus seven, and we get four,” Trump said in New Hampshire.

Senator Marco Rubio accused the Obama administration of not pushing hard enough for the American prisoners’ release when the US negotiated a deal with Iran last year.

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie said the US should not have had to make any concessions to get the Americans released.(Ians)

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UN envoy discusses Syria crisis with Iran

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UN

 

United Nations: UN special envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura late Tuesday discussed Syria crisis with senior Iranian officials in a bid to seek a political solution to the long-standing conflict, Farhan Haq, the deputy UN spokesman, said here.

While in Tehran, the Iranian capital, de Mistura met with the Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and the Deputy Foreign Minister Hussein Amir Abdollahian, Haq said, Xinhua news agency reported.

“During his meetings, de Mistura stressed the urgency of a Syrian-led political solution to the conflict and exchanged views on how to proceed with a political process, with the support of the Security Council,” Haq said.

“He also underscored the absence of a military solution to this conflict and recalled the imperative for all parties to uphold the principle of the protection of civilians.”

The special envoy is working to finalise his proposals to the secretary-general on a way forward to support Syrian parties in their search of a political solution to the conflict, in preparation for a briefing to the Security Council next week in New York, according to Haq.

The UN has long seen Iran as one of the influential countries in the Middle East region which can contribute to international efforts for an early end to the Syria crisis, which broke out in March 2011.