US Secretary of State John Kerry and Iran’s Foreign Minister Javad Zarif are to meet today in New York to further discuss a long-term nuclear deal. This will be the first time that the two top diplomats meet since Iran and six world powers (the US, Britain, France, Russia, Germany and China) reached a preliminary deal on April 2 in Lausanne, Switzerland, two days after a self-imposed deadline. They will be meeting on the sidelines of a UN conference on the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), which entered into force in 1970. and aims for non-proliferation, disarmament and peaceful use of nuclear energy. In the preliminary deal, in exchange for ending sanctions which have hurt its economy, Iran agreed to limit sensitive nuclear work for at least 10 years, reduce the number of uranium enrichment centrifuges it operates and to allow more inspections by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). Kerry, when announcing the tentative deal, said that representatives had agreed on “the most challenging and overarching issues,” but that some decisions still remain to be made regarding technical and policy issues. These include when the sanctions will be lifted, the future of Iran’s atomic research and development program, how the IAEA will be monitoring Iran and what kind of uranium stockpiles Iran will be allowed to keep. Iran demands that as soon as the final deal is signed, the sanctions should be lifted immediately, while other parties involved in the negotiations say that sanctions will only be lifted once IAEA confirms Iran’s compliance with agreement terms. Iran and the six world powers are trying to come to a final nuclear agreement by a June 30 deadline. In a speech delivered to the US Congress on March 3, one of the critics of the talks, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, called the negotiations “a bad deal” and criticised the US for considering lifting sanctions from Iran. Netanyahu added Iran could produce a bomb within a year should it decide to break the deal. President Barack Obama, who did not attend the speech but said he had read a transcript, reminded critics that if Iran did not uphold its part of the agreement, then sanctions could be reimposed. Obama and the Israeli PM had a phone conversation on April 2 after which the White House said Obama “underscored that progress on the nuclear issue in no way diminishes our concerns with respect to Iran's sponsorship of terrorism and threats towards Israel and emphasized that the United States remains steadfast in our commitment to the security of Israel.” Former President George W. Bush - speaking to the Republican Jewish Convention on Saturday - also criticised the agreement with Iran and said Obama’s plan to lift sanctions and reinstate them if necessary was not plausible, reported an attendee. The US Senate is considering a bill to allow Congress to review the terms of the agreement before any sanctions are lifted. Republican senators are determined to toughen the bill. The bill calls for the president to confirm Iran’s compliance every 90 days. Obama has said he would sign the bill if it is passed.
John Kerry to meet Iranian FM Javad Zarif in New York
US Secretary of State John Kerry and Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif to meet in New York for the first time since April 2 to pick up on nuclear talks amidst criticism
TRTWorld and agencies