UK minister meets Iranian officials in Tehran on nuclear deal

Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi (2nd R) and visiting Junior British Foreign Minister Alistair Burt (1st L) are seen at the Iranian Foreign Ministry, Tehran, September 1, 2018. (Photo by Tasnim News Agency)
Updated 01 September 2018

UK minister meets Iranian officials in Tehran on nuclear deal

DUBAI: A British junior minister held talks in Iran on Saturday as Tehran said European states should take action if they wanted to save Iran’s nuclear deal following Washington’s withdrawal from the accord, Iranian state media reported.
“It is time for the Europeans to act in addition to voicing their political commitment,” the state news agency IRNA quoted Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif as telling reporters.
“These measures may be costly, but if countries want to reap benefits and if they believe the nuclear accord is an international achievement, they should be ready to keep these achievements,” he was quoted as saying.
Britain and other European signatories are trying to keep the nuclear deal alive, despite US President Donald Trump’s reimposition of sanctions on Tehran.
UK’s Junior Foreign Minister Alistair Burt, on the first visit by a British minister since Trump withdrew from the nuclear deal, earlier met Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araghchi, Iran’s state television reported.
Zarif said the talks with Burt had involved “access to banking resources and the sale of oil.”
Iran has been seeking commitment from European signatories of the nuclear deal that it will be able to access the Western banking system and continue to sell oil despite US sanctions.
In a statement before his visit, Burt said: “As long as Iran meets its commitments under the deal, we remain committed to it as we believe it is the best way to ensure a safe, secure future for the region.”
Zarif later spoke by telephone with his French counterpart Jean-Yves Le Drian, state media reported, saying they discussed bilateral ties, the nuclear deal and regional developments.
A day earlier, Iran dismissed a call by Le Drian for negotiations on Tehran’s future nuclear plans, its ballistic missile arsenal and its role in wars in Syria and Yemen.
Britain’s Burt was also expected to discuss the cases of dual nationals detained in Iran.
Britain is seeking the release of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, a project manager with the Thomson Reuters Foundation who was arrested in April 2016 at a Tehran airport as she headed back to Britain with her daughter, now aged four, after a family visit.
She was convicted of plotting to overthrow Iran’s clerical establishment, a charge denied by her family and the Foundation, a charity organization that is independent of Thomson Reuters and operates independently of Reuters News.
Accompanying Burt in Tehran, London’s special envoy to Syria Martin Longden later met senior Iranian Foreign Ministry official Hosein Jaberi Ansari, IRNA reported.
IRNA said Longden had expressed concern about the future of Idlib and the possibility of the use of chemical weapons there.
The Syrian province of Idlib and surrounding areas are the last major enclave held by rebels opposed to Syrian President Bashar Assad, a close Iranian ally. A source has told Reuters Assad is preparing a phased offensive to regain the province.


Iran says tanker, its oil pursed by US sold to unnamed buyer

Updated 23 min 36 sec ago

Iran says tanker, its oil pursed by US sold to unnamed buyer

  • The tanker was previously heading to Greece’s Kalamata
  • It was supposed to dock at Turkey’s Mersin port

TEHRAN/ISTANBUL: An Iranian government spokesman said an oil tanker pursued by the US has been sold to an unnamed buyer, along with its 2.1 million barrels of crude oil.
Ali Rabiei made the announcement at news conference on Monday in Tehran. He says the ship’s buyer will decide on the tanker’s ultimate destination.

Earlier on Monday, Refinitiv Eikon data showed the tanker is no longer recorded as heading for Turkey, after it switched its destination over the weekend.

The vessel, fully laden with oil, had previously been heading to the port of Kalamata in southern Greece but Greece had said it would not offer any facilities to the tanker.
Shipping data on Saturday had then indicated the vessel was to dock at the southern Turkish port of Mersin on Aug. 31.
On Monday, Refinitiv Eikon data did not specify any destination for the Adrian Darya. Its location is currently south of mainland Greece, west of the island of Crete.
The Adrian Darya, formerly called Grace 1, was released in mid-August from detention off Gibraltar after a five-week standoff over whether it was carrying Iranian oil to Syria in violation of European Union sanctions.
The United States, which says the tanker is controlled by the Iranian Revolutionary Guards, deemed a terrorist group by Washington, has told countries in the region not to assist it.