Published: Wed, July 17, 2019
Global Media | By Garry Long

United Nations concerned by restrictions placed on Iran's Zarif for NY visit

United Nations concerned by restrictions placed on Iran's Zarif for NY visit

The landmark deal is at risk of collapsing after US President Donald Trump pulled Washington out unilaterally, leading Iran to violate safeguards that limited its stockpiling and enrichment of uranium.

After speaking with Hunt, the Iranian foreign minister said Iran should be allowed to sell oil to any country it wished, branding the United Kingdom seizure of Grace 1 nothing short of an act of piracy, as Iranian government sources insisted the tanker was not bound for Syria.

A US defense official tells The Associated Press that America "has suspicions" that Iran seized an oil tanker based in the United Arab Emirates that turned off its tracker over two days ago in the Strait of Hormuz.

In April 2014, the USA denied a visa to Iran's United Nations ambassador, Hamid Abutalebi, because of his links to the 1979-1981 Tehran hostage crisis, the news wire reports.

On May 8, 2019, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani pledged that Tehran was reducing its commitments under the JCPOA. "So if they want to talk about our missiles, they need first to stop selling all these weapons". However, Iran has said it does not meet its needs.

"The Middle East is already one of the most unstable regions in the world, but if the different parties were armed with nuclear weapons it would represent an existential threat to mankind", Hunt said.

The statement made by Iranian lawmakers followed a meeting in Brussels, where European leaders discussed ways to push for Tehran and Washington start a dialogue.

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Britain will facilitate the release of a seized Iranian tanker if Iran can provide guarantees the vessel would not breach European sanctions on oil shipments to Syria, Britain's top diplomat said, as European nations called for new talks to ease tensions in the Persian Gulf.

The three European states were among the key players in the 2015 deal - known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or JCPOA - on Iran's nuclear programme.

However, those tensions also have seen the United States send thousands of additional troops, nuclear-capable B-52 bombers and advanced fighter jets into the Mideast.

Tensions have spiked since U.S. President Donald Trump a year ago abandoned world powers' 2015 nuclear deal with Iran under which it agreed to curtail its enrichment of uranium in return for the lifting of global sanctions crippling its economy.

Hunt said he held a "constructive call" with Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif and reassured him "our concern was the destination, not the origin, of the oil". Iran has said that it is not subject to European Union sanctions.

"We must keep control of common sense", he said. He added that expecting Iran to return to the JCPOA level of commitments for its nuclear program without "evidence of serious political will and the practical ability of the Europeans in creating balance in fulfilling their commitments based on the JCPOA ... is unrealistic and contrary to the goals, logic and contents of the JCPOA".

Diplomats have that in any case they fear USA blowback, while Iranian officials have repeatedly said Instex must include oil sales or provide substantial credit facilities for it to be beneficial.

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