Iran mulls new nuclear deal with US
Iran's Foreign Minister Javad Zarif has raised prospects of a new nuclear deal with the US that would see exemption of permanent sanctions in exchange for Tehran's permanent denuclearisation process.
Zarif proposed an agreement which would "augment" the 2015 nuclear agreement, from which US President Donald Trump pulled out his country in May last year.
"Iran would be prepared to sign an additional protocol, allowing for more intrusive inspections of the country's nuclear facilities at an earlier date than that set out in the 2015 deal. The country's Supreme Leader, Ali Khamenei, would also enshrine a ban on nuclear weapons in law," Zarif told CNN's Christiane Amanpour.
"In return, Trump would need to lift sanctions on Iran, and have the step ratified by Congress," he said.
Zarif insisted that Iran was never a nuclear weapons' country.
"We are prepared, if President Trump is serious about permanent for permanent. Permanent -- Iran was never a nuclear weapons state, but permanent denuclearization as they like to hear it," he said.
Under the 2015 deal, lifting of Iranian sanctions would be sent to the US Congress for ratification in 2023. A sanction relief could diminish Iran hardliners' fear that a new pact with a US government could be cancelled after the next presidential election.
Meanwhile, Zarif did not rule out the possibility of a meeting between Trump and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on the sidelines of the 74th UN General Assembly session this week.
Asked if the two leaders would meet, the foreign minister said, "Provided that President Trump is ready to do what's necessary."
In his address at UN General Assembly, Rouhani is expected to outline plans for "de-escalation" in the region.
"We believe we need to start working together for peace, for confidence-building, for de-escalation, for exchanges, and even for a non-aggression pact," Zarif remarked. (ANI)External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Monday (local time) held long discussions on fundamentalism and terrorism with Uzbek Foreign Minister Abdulaziz Kamilov on the sidelines of the UNGA here.
"Nice to meet FM Kamilov of Uzbekistan again. Discussed bilateral and regional issues. Reaffirmed our shared commitment against fundamentalism and terrorism," the External Affairs Minister tweeted shortly after his meeting.
In New York, Jaishankar previously held a series of meetings with his counterparts from Netherlands, and the United Arab Emirates.
"A friendly meeting with FM @ministerBlok of The Netherlands. Discussed the changes underway in India and the new opportunities for cooperation," the EAM said.
"Meeting with a very special friend, FM @ABZayed of UAE. Such a strong relationship, so much to talk about," he tweeted.
The visiting dignitary also met his counterpart from Guinea and enhanced cooperation on energy security.
"Welcoming a close political and economic partner, FM @AngueSimeon of Equatorial Guinea. Appreciated their contribution to our energy security. Will jointly implement the roadmap of our bilateral cooperation," Jaishankar tweeted.
The Minister also boosted India's strategic ties with Tajikistan during a short meeting with the country's foreign minister Sirojiddin Muhriddin.
"Delighted to meet FM Sirojiddin Muhriddin of Tajikistan again. All aspects of our strategic ties were discussed. A very meaningful conversation," he said.
The External Affairs Minister has so far held 11 bilateral meetings with his foreign counterparts.
"External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar had 11 bilateral meetings with Iran, Bulgaria, Turkey, Netherlands, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, UAE and others. He also had a meeting with US Special Envoy on Afghanistan," the spokesperson for the Ministry of External Affairs, Raveesh Kumar, said at a press briefing in New York.
Earlier in the day, the Minister also met US special envoy on Afghan peace reconciliation, Zalmay Khalilzad, for the first time after peace talks broke down earlier this month between the United States and Taliban.