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Iran FM: time for US, Western allies to choose between cooperation and confrontation

April 20, 2015, 15:53 UTC+3 TEHRAN

In early April, Iran and world powers reached a framework agreement on cutting down Iran’s nuclear program after marathon talks in Switzerland

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TEHRAN, April 20. /TASS/. The time has come for the United States and its Western allies "to make the choice between cooperation and confrontation", Iran’s foreign minister said in a message to governments of the six world powers who negotiated a preliminary agreement on the country’s nuclear programme.

"We made important progress in Switzerland earlier this month. With the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council [Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States] plus Germany, we agreed on parameters to remove any doubt about the exclusively peaceful nature of Iran’s nuclear program and to lift international sanctions against Iran," Mohammad Javad Zarif said in his message, published by the official IRNA news agency on Monday.

In early April, Iran and world powers reached a framework agreement on cutting down Iran’s nuclear program after marathon talks in Switzerland.

The framework clears the way for talks on a comprehensive deal with Iran by June 30 under which it would limit its nuclear activities for at least a decade in exchange for a gradual end to all sanctions imposed by the United Nations, the European Union and the United States on Iran’s energy and financial sectors.

Iran’s top diplomat noted in his message that: "To seal the anticipated nuclear deal, more political will is required."

"The Iranian people have shown their resolve by choosing to engage with dignity," Zarif said. "It is time for the United States and its Western allies to make the choice between cooperation and confrontation, between negotiations and grandstanding, and between agreement and coercion."

"Iran has been clear: The purview of our constructive engagement extends far beyond nuclear negotiations," he went on. "Good relations with Iran’s neighbors are our top priority."

"Our rationale is that the nuclear issue has been a symptom, not a cause, of mistrust and conflict [with the West]," he said. "Considering recent advances in symptom prevention, it is time for Iran and other stakeholders to begin to address the causes of tension in the wider Persian Gulf region."

"One cannot confront Al Qaeda and its ideological siblings, such as the so-called Islamic State, which is neither Islamic nor a state, in Iraq, while effectively enabling their growth in Yemen and Syria," Zarif stressed.

He highlighted the need for "establishment of a collective forum for dialogue in the Persian Gulf region, to facilitate engagement", saying that "Yemen would be a good place to start."

"A regional dialogue could help promote understanding and interaction at the levels of government, the private sector and civil society, and lead to agreement on a broad spectrum of issues," the minister said, noting also the need to "utilize" existing institutional frameworks for dialogue, "and especially the United Nations".

"A regional role for the United Nations, already envisaged in the Security Council resolution that helped end the Iran-Iraq war in 1988, would help alleviate concerns and anxieties, particularly of smaller countries; provide the international community with assurances and mechanisms for safeguarding its legitimate interests; and link any regional dialogue with issues that inherently go beyond the boundaries of the region," Zarif added.

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