Khamenei: Nuclear talks will ‘lead nowhere’

Updated 18 February 2014
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Khamenei: Nuclear talks will ‘lead nowhere’

TEHRAN: Iran’s top decision-maker Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said Monday his country’s nuclear talks with world powers will “lead nowhere,” pouring cold water on the negotiations.
Iran is due to resume talks on Tuesday in Vienna with the P5+1 major powers — Britain, France, the United States, Russia and China plus Germany — aimed at reaching a comprehensive accord on its controversial nuclear program.
After a decade of failure and rising tensions, US President Barack Obama has put the chances of an agreement at “50-50,” while Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has predicted “difficult” discussions.
“Some of the officials of the previous government as well as the officials of this government think the problem will be resolved if they negotiate the nuclear issue,” Khamenei said in remarks published on his website Khamenei.ir.
“I repeat it again that I am not optimistic about the negotiations and they will lead nowhere, but I am not against them,” he added.
Under the “comprehensive” deal now being sought, which the parties aim to conclude and commence implementing by November, the powers will want Iran to scale back its activities permanently.
Khamenei said Iran would abide by its pledge to pursue the negotiations, adding that Iranian officials should “continue their efforts.”
“The work that has been started by the foreign ministry will continue and Iran will not violate its commitment, but I repeat it again, it will lead to nowhere,” Khamenei said.
“The Iranian nation emphasized that it will never succumb to the bullying and blackmailing of America,” said Khamenei, referring to anti-US slogans chanted by huge crowds during nationwide celebrations last week of the 35th anniversary of Iran’s Islamic revolution.
He also said Iran’s nuclear issue was being used as a pretext for Washington to pursue hostile policies toward the Islamic republic.
“The nuclear issue is an excuse for America (to continue) its animosity. Now, the American spokesmen are bringing up the issues of human rights and missiles.”


Turkey: EU sanctions over gas drilling ‘worthless’

Updated 16 July 2019
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Turkey: EU sanctions over gas drilling ‘worthless’

  • EU foreign ministers said they are suspending talks with Turkey over air transport agreement
  • They backed EU’s proposal to decrease financial assistance to Turkey

ANKARA: Turkey on Tuesday rejected as “worthless” an initial set of sanctions approved by the European Union against Ankara, and vowed to send a new vessel to the eastern Mediterranean to reinforce its efforts to drill for hydrocarbons off the island of Cyprus.
EU foreign ministers on Monday approved sanctions against Turkey over its drilling for gas in waters where EU member Cyprus has exclusive economic rights. They said they were suspending talks on an air transport agreement, as well as high-level Turkey-EU dialogues, and would call on the European Investment Bank to review its lending to the country.
They also backed a proposal by the EU’s executive branch to reduce financial assistance to Turkey for next year. The ministers warned that additional “targeted measures” were being worked on to penalize Turkey, which started negotiations to join the EU in 2005.
Speaking at a news conference in Macedonia, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said the sanctions aimed to “appease” Cyprus and were of “no importance.”
“The EU needs us concerning the migration issue or other issues,” he said. “They will come to us and hold contacts; there is no escaping that.”
“They know that the decisions they took cannot be applied,” he said. “They were forced to take the worthless decisions under pressure from the Greek Cypriots and Greece.”
Cavusoglu added: “If you take such decisions against Turkey, we will increase our activities. We have three ships in the eastern Mediterranean, will with send a fourth.”
Earlier, the Turkish Foreign Ministry criticized the EU for ignoring the rights of Turkish Cypriots and accused the 28-nation bloc of “prejudice and bias.”
It added that Turkey was determined to protect its rights and the rights of Turkish Cypriots.
Two Turkish vessels escorted by warships are drilling for gas on either end of ethnically divided Cyprus. A third Turkish exploration ship is also in the area. Turkey insists that it has rights over certain offshore zones and that Turkish Cypriots have rights over others.
Cyprus was split along ethnic lines in 1974 when Turkey invaded in the wake of a coup by supporters of union with Greece. A Turkish Cypriot declaration of independence is recognized only by Turkey, which keeps more than 35,000 troops in the breakaway north. Cyprus joined the EU in 2004, but only the internationally recognized south enjoys full membership benefits.
Cypriot officials accuse Turkey of using the minority Turkish Cypriots in order to pursue its goal of exerting control over the eastern Mediterranean region.
The Cypriot government says it will take legal action against any oil and gas companies supporting Turkish vessels in any repeat attempt to drill for gas. Cyprus has already issued around 20 international arrest warrants against three international companies assisting one of the two Turkish vessels now drilling 68 kilometers off the island’s west coast.