Regime Declares “Saudi-Israel-US-Islamic State-Boko Haram-al-Shabaab” Conspiracy in Yemen

Responding to a compromise allowing a vote by the US Congress on a final nuclear agreement, Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has said that President Obama will be held accountable to implement a deal.

Speaking at a press conference in Portugal, Zarif said, “It is the obligation of the government of the United States to implement its international agreements. And we will hold the US government, the US President accountable.”

The White House had said that it did not have to put any agreement before Congress for review. However, on Tuesday the Obama Administration accepted a bill requiring the final text to be sent to legislators, with a vote allowing or forbidding the lifting of Congressionally-imposed sanctions.

See Iran Feature: White House Yields, Gives Congress Role in Approval of Nuclear Agreement

Zarif said that, before completing a comprehensive agreement, Tehran will consider if the bill “infringes upon or hinders the capability of the President to carry out the obligations that he is going to assume with Iran”.

Speaking in northern Iran on Wednesday, President Rouhani was dismissive of the White House-Congress compromise, saying that Iran is negotiating with the 5+1 Powers and not US legislators:

What the American Senate says, or what the House of Representatives wants, and what American radicals are after, and what their mercenaries in the region are saying, is not relevant to our nation and government.

Iran and the 5+1 Powers agreed on a framework for an agreement on April 2. Talks between political deputies resume on Tuesday to work out the details for a comprehensive accord by June 30.

Zarif also commmented on Russia’s sudden decision to fulfil a contract, suspended since 2010, for the delivery of S-300 anti-aircraft missile systems to Iran. The Foreign Minister said:

Russia is fulfilling its contractual treaty obligation to deliver the S-300 defense capabilities to Iran. It had nothing to do with the negotiations….

I think it is the right decision that Russia has made, it is a contract that we have with Russia which is fully legal.

Deputy Foreign Minister: “Israel Sending Islamic State Takfiri Terrorists into Yemen”

This entry has been turned into an Iran Feature: Regime Declares “Saudi-Israel-US-Islamic State-Boko Haram-al-Shabaab” Conspiracy in Yemen

Supreme Leader’s Top Aide Sets Out Toughened Regime Line over Nuclear Deal and Sanctions Removal

In the first clear sign that the regime will challenge the US interpretation — and implicitly that of the Rouhani Government — of the nuclear framework over the removal of sanctions, the Supreme Leader’s top aide has said that the timing cannot be connected to International Atomic Energy Agency verification of Iranian compliance with a comprehensive agreement.

Ali Akbar Velayati said on Wednesday, “It is under no circumstances acceptable for the Islamic Republic of Iran that it should start limiting its nuclear activities and wait for the International Atomic Energy Agency to confirm it as completely done before the sanctions are removed.”

The US fact sheet on the framework links removal or suspension of UN, European Union, and American sanctions to IAEA “verification of implementation”. Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, while challenging the framework, has also set out the IAEA condition. President Rouhani has put out the ambiguous line that sanctions must be lifted on the “very first day of implementation” of the agreement.

On Wednesday, Rouhani moved towards the tougher position, telling an audience in northern Iran, “The time of signing the deal has to be the time for the announcement of an end to the unjust sanctions on the people of Iran.”

Tehran Claims Nuclear “Solutions” in Meeting with IAEA…But Doubts Remain

Iran has given a positive account of Wednesday’s meeting with a high-level team from the International Atomic Energy Agency, saying that it came up with “solutions” over outstanding nuclear issues.

The Iranian ambassador to the IAEA, Reza Najafi (pictured), declared, “In this meeting, some solutions were found regarding the existing disputes.”

However, Najafi then cast some doubt on the advance, saying that the two topics in dispute require further discussions in the next meeting.

The IAEA has said that Iran has not fulfilled two of seven areas in a February 2014 agreement: provision of information on experiments with large-scale high explosives, and supply of information on “neutron transport and associated modelling and calculations”.

The five-member IAEA team was led by Deputy Director-General Tero Varjoranta.

Agreement between Iran and the IAEA over inspections and supervision would boost the efforts between Tehran and the 5+1 Powers (US, Britain, France, Germany, China, and Russia) to reach a comprehensive nuclear agreement by June 30.