Kerry, Zarif spoke last week after fresh Iran-related sanctions

WASHINGTON Mon Dec 16, 2013 1:48pm EST

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry (R) shakes hands with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif after a ceremony at the United Nations in Geneva November 24, 2013. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry (R) shakes hands with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif after a ceremony at the United Nations in Geneva November 24, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Denis Balibouse

Related Topics

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. and Iranian foreign ministers last week discussed the importance of carrying out the November 24 Iran nuclear deal after Washington blacklisted 19 companies, people and vessels for dealing with Tehran, a U.S. official said on Monday.

The U.S. sanctions, imposed under existing U.S. law, drew criticism from Iranian officials and raised questions about the November 24 agreement under which Iran agreed to curb its nuclear program for six months in exchange for limited sanctions relief.

"They discussed the importance of moving forward" on carrying out the agreement "and of maintaining a constructive atmosphere as the negotiations continue," the U.S. official said. "The conversation was focused on the way forward."

Under the November 24 agreement, the United States committed not to impose new sanctions on Iran. U.S. officials said they had not violated the deal in blacklisting the companies, vessels and individuals under existing law and said their commitment under the deal referred to not imposing sanctions under new laws.

The U.S. State Department said it told Iranian negotiators during talks before the November 24 deal that it would enforce existing U.S. sanctions laws and gave Iranian officials a general advance warning about last week's blacklisting action.

Some Iranian officials, however, argued that the United States had violated the spirit of the deal, which was struck between Iran and six major powers and which is designed to provide time to try to negotiate a comprehensive agreement.

The U.S. State Department official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry had spoken to Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif by telephone from his aircraft as the chief U.S. diplomat flew from Israel to Vietnam.

It was unclear exactly when the conversation took place, but Kerry was due to leave the Middle East late on Friday and to arrive in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam on Saturday.

The latest U.S. sanctions -- known in Washington jargon as "designations" -- were imposed on Thursday.

(Reporting By Arshad Mohammed; Editing by Jonathan Oatis)

We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see
Comments (3)
usagadfly wrote:
In the USA, the distinction between Government action by decree and Government action “by law” is a mere quibble. There is no practical difference between the two, only an arcane internal procedural difference. Here, the “law” is what the Government says it is. Just look at the NSA and drone killings. Both are gross Constitutional “violations” in the sense that they directly go against what is written there in plain English.

Israel’s operatives within the US Federal Government strike again.

Dec 16, 2013 12:58pm EST  --  Report as abuse
The common american person is very ignorant about what happens globally, let alone domestically. Hence the 10% of the ruling elite have complete control of the whole country. There are still people in the bible belt that believe Israel will be destroyed and a new messiah will emerge. Right now 90 % couldn’t care less if Israel controlled the senators, as long as their gun rights are not violated they are OK.
I think after 6 months period is over, Israel will launch an attack regardless of what the international countries say. Drag US into this mess all over again and all for what Netanyahu’s ego?

Dec 16, 2013 2:55pm EST  --  Report as abuse
rgbviews wrote:
“They discussed the importance of moving forward” on carrying out the agreement ……”

The US Administration wants to move forward towards peaceful co-existence and the agreement has the backing of the EU and the rest of the world.

Meanwhile Netanyahu and his AIPAC-controlled puppets in the US Congress are scheming to move the process backward towards conflict and needless bloodshed. These extremists and their supporters must be marginalized.

Dec 17, 2013 12:57am EST  --  Report as abuse
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.