Kerry to Iran: Pressure Assad to Secure a Political Solution


Heba El Koudsy – Asharq al-Awsat – Washington- During the Tuesday New York meeting, holding both U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and the Iranian Minister of Foreign Affairs Mohammad Javad Zarif, each of Washington and Tehran laid forth a score of heated issues for discussion. Washington employed a ‘carrot and stick’ approach throughout its discussions with Zarif.Diplomatic sources reveal that, during deliberations, Kerry asked Zarif to urge the Iranian government to practice its power over Syrian President Bashar al-Assad as to secure a political solution for the Syrian conflict.

Kerry requested that Iran pressures Assad to end his regime’s violations against the ceasefire and to positively respond to political transition. Among the U.S. Secretary of State’s requests, was for Iran to stop backing Houthi insurgents in Yemen, quit activities provoking regional instability and halting all trials on ballistic missiles which would be in exchange for speeding the progress on lifting sanctions and facilitating the Iranian banking system’s access to global economy.Kerry pointed out Washington’s right to impose new sanctions after Iranian violations taking place against U.N. resolutions and Iran pushing forward with the ballistic missile program.Zarif, who had participated at the U.N. convention on sustainable development and attended the signing of the Paris Agreement for climate change on Tuesday, pushed for the U.S. to implement commitment on mitigating sanctions against Tehran, allowing U.S. companies and banks to undertake economic relationships with their Iranian peers.

Zarif and Kerry’s meeting is considered a first of its kind since their last meeting in January 2015, which took place in Vienna and was for the official signing of the implementation on the Iranian nuclear deal. The two met amid concerns regarding Iran’s commitment to their nuclear program and warnings coming in on the consequences of mitigating sanctions against the country.

The meeting took place a day prior to the U.S. President Barrack Obama’s visit to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for participating at the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) meetings.U.S. Department of State clarified that its foreign policy is committed to responsibilities regarding the nuclear deal; however, is confronted with the banking system’s demands for clarification on the extent of legitimacy of transactions with Iran, given that the country still has other sanctions imposed.Iranian current sanctions are the punitive measures taken against Iran’s terror supporting activities and trials on ballistic missiles violating U.N. Security Council resolutions. The U.S. Department of State announced sending letters to all fifty states, U.S. Senators and some local representatives as to inform them of altercations made to the federal penalties imposed on Iran based on the nuclear deal.Each state is expected to conduct changes and local lawmaking according to their own outlook; given that the letter presses no obligatory change or law amendment on local authorities.