PHOTO: US Secretary of State John Kerry and Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif in Oslo on Wednesday


US Secretary of State John Kerry has tried again to reassure Iran over the July 2015 nuclear deal and the lifting of American-led sanctions on Tehran.

Kerry met Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif on the sidelines of a conference in Oslo, Finland on Wednesday. The discussion came after months of complaints by Iranian officials, including the Supreme Leader, that Washington has maintained and introduced some sanctions despite January’s implementation of the nuclear agreement.

Tehran says that international banks and companies, particuarly in Europe, are not renewing business because of fears of US punishment.

Last month, Kerry met European officials in London to declare that Washington was not putting up any barriers, and he repeated the message on Wednesday:

If banks are reluctant of their own caution, or misunderstanding, then I think it is important for us to appropriately clarify things in a way that can allow what is entitled to happen. If you don’t do that then you wind up putting your very agreement at risk.”

We are working hard to make sure banks know they are entitled to do business.

The statement is unlikely to blunt the hostility of the Supreme Leader, who has warned the Rouhani Government to limit its foreign policy of engagement and reject all involvement with the US beyond the nuclear deal.

Khamenei said on Tuesday:

US hostility towards us is because of the existence of the Islamic Republic and cannot be solved through negotiation….

[It is a] misconception that we can come to terms with the US. We cannot rely on illusions.

To support his claims of American dishonesty, the Supreme Leader has pointed to the failure to return frozen Iranian assets and the imposition of new sanctions over Iran’s ballistic missile program.

President Rouhani said on Wednesday that Iran has filed a complaint with the International Court of Justice over $2 billion of assets frozen by the US Supreme Court in April.

The court ruled that the freeze should be maintained as families of victims of terrorism pursued judicial compensation.

Rouhani said to families of war dead, “The government will follow the case until the nation’s rights are realized and the money is back, along with its compensation. Following up on people’s rights is the path of martyrs.”

Report: Tehran Deal for More than 100 Boeing Jets

“Western and Middle Eastern sources” have confirmed the statements of Iranian officials that Tehran has reached a tentative deal with US airplane manufacturer Boeing for more than 100 passenger jets.

The sources said the agreement is only in outline but would allow the flag carrier Iranair to both purchase and lease jets.

A Boeing spokesman said:

We have been engaged in discussions with Iranian airlines approved by the U.S. government about potential purchases of Boeing commercial passenger airplanes and services.

We do not discuss details of ongoing conversations we are having with customers, and our standard practice is to let customers announce any agreements that are reached. Any agreements reached will be contingent on U.S. government approval.

Transport Minister Abbas Akhoundi had earlier declared that the deal was completed and that “details on the agreement…will be announced within the coming days”.

In January, Iran signed a $27 billion deal with aviation giant Airbus to purchase 118 planes and it is also negotiating with several other manufacturers.

Of Iran’s 250 aircraft, 90 are grounded due to economic restrictions or missing parts,

Conservative Site Shut Down Over Taliban and EU “Secret Letter” Stories

The prominent conservative website Jahan News has been shut down by Iran’s Press Supervisory Board over “two false stories”.

One of the stories claimed that Taliban leader Mullah Akhtar Mansour, killed in a US drone strike in Pakistan on May 21, had “various negotiations with different organizations” in Iran over a two-month period.

The other story said the European Union’s foreign policy head, Federica Mogherini sent a “secret letter” to Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif denying that the 5+1 Powers must resolve Iran’s banking problems as part of the nuclear deal

An “informed source” said the false stories had led “anti-revolutionary sites, Zionist media outlets, and satellite channels” to accuse Iran of lying.