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Russia to build new nuclear units in Iran

Secretary of State John Kerry wrote his Iranian counterpart on Saturday to assure him the visa changes approved by Congress last week won’t undermine business opportunities in Iran or violate the terms of the nuclear agreement between global powers and Tehran in July.

I refer to a remarkable letter sent by Secretary of State Kerry to Iranian Foreign Minister Zarif.

“We’re talking about providing a state credit, under the guarantee of the Iranian government”, Manturov said.

“It is hard to overestimate the strategic importance of Iran in the political, economic and geographic context”, Mr Manturov said in a statement released by the ministry. He continues, “Here’s an idea: Congress should prohibit any foreign national who travels to Iran for any objective (except family visits) from entering the USA until we get all our hostages back”.

A senior State Department official told lawmakers that a provision in the massive spending bill passed on Friday by Congress will tighten the US visa waiver program and could have “a very negative impact” on implementation of the Iran nuclear agreement, CNS News reported.

“If this law is applied, we will put forward a request to the Joint Commission, because the law goes against the nuclear accord”, Araghchi said.

Trita Parsi, president of the National Iranian American Council, which strenuously advocated against H.R. 158, told Al-Monitor, “The letter shows that the United States government is taking the objections of the European Union and the Iranians seriously, as the new visa waiver law does arguably violate the JCPOA”.

Although the two countries have had a contentious relationship over the years, Iran and Russian Federation already have deep trade relations. As for changes to the visa program, Kerry appeared to suggest several alternative options were available for easing any impact on Iran – including waiving the new requirements.

Gerard Larcher was speaking during a trip to Iran aimed at strengthening relations with France following a landmark deal to curb Tehran’s nuclear programme in return for a lifting of sanctions.

Although diplomacy could settle Iran’s decade-long nuclear standoff, one of the world’s most thorny issues, a major question remains unanswered about the deal’s implications for the region strewn with sectarian conflicts.

On Tuesday, the State Department maintained that no decisions had been made about whether or not to lift the restrictions for people with ties to Iran.

The new legislation came after the deadly attacks in Paris and San Bernardino, California.

The country’s exports of weapons to Iran were worth just $26m for 2013 and a year ago combined, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute. Besides Indian investment in oil and gas fields in Iran, the two sides are also exploring cooperation in industries such as petrochemicals, steel, pharmaceuticals and medical equipment.

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