United States Institute of Peace

The Iran Primer

Iran Plans to Cut Gas Emission

Iran intends to curb greenhouse gas emission in 2030 by four percent. In the run up to the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change, Tehran published a plan for adapting to climate change and mitigating pollution. The document also included a list of financial and technological needs. Assuming sanctions will be lifted as part of the nuclear deal, Iran estimated that it could cut emissions by an additional eight percent with enough investment, transfer of clean technologies from abroad and carbon credits. Four of the world’s 10 most polluted cities are in Iran, according to the World Health Organization.
On November 30, more than 150 heads of state and government arrived in Paris for the U.N. conference, also known as the COP21 climate change talks. Envoy Majid Shafiepour led Iran’s delegation, which included Vice President and head of Iran’s Environmental Protection Organization Masoumeh Ebetekar. “There's been a lot of willingness among European countries like France and Italy as well as the private sector to come to invest in green technologies,” Ebtekar told the BBC. She also highlighted a need for a “total U-turn in agricultural policy,” given that 13 of Iran’s 32 provinces face a critical water situation.
The following are excerpts from Iran’s Department of Environment submission to the U.N. conference.

Intended Nationally Determined Contribution
19 November 2015
1. Introduction
The Islamic Republic of Iran, in recent decades, has always supported the international efforts to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) and to adapt to the impacts of climate change, on the basis of the principle of “Common But Differentiated Responsibilities” (CBDR). Despite various obstacles such as unjust sanctions, the eight year imposed war upon Iran (1980-1988) which put Iranian young and talented human resources at risk, as well as hosting millions of refugees from the neighboring countries, Iran has implemented comprehensive programs over the last three decades in the field of sustainable development. In the coming years, however, economic growth, social development, poverty eradication and environmental sustainability continue to be the main priorities of the national development agenda.
In spite of the desire to move towards low-carbon economy and to implement and achieve its objectives, young population and national development requirements on the one hand, and availability of hydrocarbon resources from the other hand, have made the national development to rely on the energy-intensive industries. These have made upward trend of GHGs emissions in the country inevitable.
Dependence of the national economy on revenues from production and export of oil and its byproducts - that are high-carbon intensive- have made the economy, public welfare, resources and technology of the country, vulnerable to mitigation of GHGs emission. These adverse impacts from the point of view of response measures to climate change, have turned the Islamic Republic Iran to a suitable candidate, to the attention of developed country parties to the Convention, in the areas of finance, technology transfer and capacity building support (according to articles 4.8 and 4.9 of the UNFCCC).
This intended program, inclusive of unconditional and conditional participation in mitigating GHGs emission as well as in terms of areas related to adaptation, is in its entirety, subject to the removal of economic, technological and financial restrictions and in particular termination of unjust sanctions imposed on Iran during the past several decades, as well as non-imposition of restrictions or sanctions in the future.
Obviously, due to the long-term impacts of unjust sanctions and restrictions, capacity development and creation of suitable institutional structures will be a time consuming process and constrain achieving objectives of this program, even if international financial and technical support as well as technology transfer are provided. The Islamic Republic of Iran, while has no legally binding commitments under the Convention to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, while emphasizing the voluntary nature of its actions, presents its “Intended Nationally Determined Contribution”, as endorsed by the Cabinet of Ministers, in the following macro-areas of mitigation, vulnerability and adaptation.
It is noteworthy that, this document does not constitute committing the Islamic Republic of Iran, in any way, in a binding manner, with regard to the measures that will be undertaken in its various economic and industrial sectors.
2. Mitigation of Greenhouse Gases
· Time frame: 1st, January 2021 to 31st, December 2030;
· Base year of calculation ( upon available information): 2010;
· GHGs concerned: SF6, PFCs, HFCs, NF3, CO2, CH4, N2O.
A. Unconditional Mitigation Action
On the basis of national capabilities, financial resources available and requirements of the national development program, taking into account GHGs emission scenarios, the Islamic Republic of Iran intends to participate by mitigating its GHGs emission in 2030 by 4% compared to the Business As Usual (BAU) scenario.
This level of unconditional emission reduction will be achieved through development of combined cycle power plants, renewable energies and nuclear power, as well as reduction of gas flare emissions, increasing energy efficiency in various consuming sectors, substituting high-carbon fuels with natural gas, strategic planning for utilizing low-carbon fuels, intensifying economic diversification and participation in market-based mechanisms at the national and international levels.
Moreover, in accordance with progress in the implementation of national development plans, and access to international financial resources as well as transfer of required technologies under the Convention, the BAU scenario will be updated in the future years. It should be noted that the process of implementing our unconditional mitigation of GHGs emission will be facilitated and speeded up, only in the absence of any forms of restrictions and sanctions.
B. Conditional Mitigation Action
Subject to termination and non-existence of unjust sanctions, availability of international resources in the form of financial support and technology transfer, exchange of carbon credits, accessibility of bilateral or multilateral implementation mechanisms, transfer of clean technologies as well as capacity building, the Islamic Republic of Iran has the potential of mitigating additional GHGs emission up to 8% against the BAU scenario (i.e. 12% in total).
These additional mitigation actions will be achieved through focusing on energy sector and industrial processes, as well as conservation and development of forests, sustainable agriculture and waste management. “Market-based mechanisms” and transfer of environment friendly technologies under the legal regime of UNFCCC as well as transfer of management practices, play a key role in successful and result oriented conditional mitigation actions.
C. Calculation Method and Verification Process and Reporting
Emission calculations are based on the IPCC 2006 guidelines, hence GHGs emissions mitigation planned are to benefit from national Monitoring, Reporting and Verification (MRV) mechanisms becoming operational by the end of 2020. This is to verify and control the implementation of national mitigation actions. In addition, the progress of national mitigation actions will be accelerated by enforcement of national fuel consumption and emissions standards.
D. Mitigation Ambition and Proportionate Assessment (Fairness)
Taking into account the potentials and economic capabilities of Islamic Republic of Iran, its growing young population, the need for creation of job opportunities and with due regard to priorities identified in the national development programs, our intention to mitigate GHGs emission on a voluntary basis, is a clear manifestation of willingness of the country to cooperate in promotion of global public good at the regional and international levels. The Islamic Republic of Iran has already included a program to mitigate GHGs emission in its "Fifth 5 Year National Development Plan" (2010 to 2015), targeting 30% reduction in energy intensity. Unfortunately, due to the unjust sanctions imposed on our economic, financial and technological sectors, not only this target was not achieved, but energy intensity was increased in recent years.
E. Financial and Technological Needs
Due to the significant share of energy sector in emissions (more than 90%) and consequently the high potential of this sector in emissions mitigation, its major technological requirements are as follows:
· Technologies needed to curb and utilize gas flares;
· Reducing natural gas leakage in the distribution networks;
· Increasing efficiency through the development of CHP and combined-cycle power plants;
· Reducing transmission and distribution electricity losses;
· Energy demand optimization and management; and
· Use of renewable and alternative energy resources (like nuclear power) as well as biofuels, biogas, waste to energy production and CCS.
The total annual investments needed to achieve unconditional and conditional GHGs mitigation are about 17.5 and 52.5 billion US dollars respectively. Also such actions could be leveraged at the domestic level, through, inter alia, development of sound financial mechanisms; economics of energy, in areas such as reducing and gradual phasing out of energy subsidies; the National Environmental Fund; formulation of a master plan to promote the role of private sector, particularly in the energy sector; and optimization of energy efficiency, through establishment of service companies.
F. National Contribution to UNFCCC Goals
Bearing in mind the status of the Islamic Republic of Iran as a major developing country with a growing economy, the national development plan of the country aims to achieve 8% economic growth annually, with an emphasis on energy and industrial sectors in the next fifteen years. Iran, in a bid to effectively contribute to the regional and global mitigation of GHGs emission, intends to mitigate GHGs emissions through national legislation on energy productivity as well as implementation of the "Low-carbon Economy", in conformity with the objectives of UNFCCC.

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Supreme Leader: Letter to Western Youth

In reaction to the Paris attacks, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei reached out to Western youth to emphasize that terrorism is a common concern. “Without a doubt, the one-and-a-half billion Muslims also have these feelings and abhor and are revolted by the perpetrators and those responsible for these calamities,” he wrote in a letter published on his official website and social media accounts.
Khamenei, however, emphasized that the “insecurity and strain” experienced by Europe in recent days differ from what the people of Iraq, Yemen, Syria and Afghanistan have faced. He wrote that the people of the region have been the victim of a greater amount of terror over a longer period of time. Khamenei also accused Western powers of supporting the groups behind the violence, including al Qaeda and the Taliban.
Khamenei also wrote a letter to Western youth following the January 2015 Charlie Hebdo attacks. He appealed to youth to not blindly accept stereotypes of Muslims. The following is the full text of the latest letter with an infographic posted on Khamenei’s website.
To the Youth in Western Countries,
The bitter events brought about by blind terrorism in France have once again, moved me to speak to you young people.  For me, it is unfortunate that such incidents would have to create the framework for a conversation, however the truth is that if painful matters do not create the grounds for finding solutions and mutual consultation, then the damage caused will be multiplied.
The pain of any human being anywhere in the world causes sorrow for a fellow human being.  The sight of a child losing his life in the presence of his loved ones, a mother whose joy for her family turns into mourning, a husband who is rushing the lifeless body of his spouse to some place and the spectator who does not know whether he will be seeing the final scene of life- these are scenes that rouse the emotions and feelings of any human being.  Anyone who has benefited from affection and humanity is affected and disturbed by witnessing these scenes- whether it occurs in France or in Palestine or Iraq or Lebanon or Syria. 
Without a doubt, the one-and-a-half billion Muslims also have these feelings and abhor and are revolted by the perpetrators and those responsible for these calamities. The issue, however, is that if today’s pain is not used to build a better and safer future, then it will just turn into bitter and fruitless memories. I genuinely believe that it is only you youth who by learning the lessons of today’s hardship, have the power to discover new means for building the future and who can be barriers in the misguided path that has brought the west to its current impasse.  
It is correct that today terrorism is our common worry.  However it is necessary for you to know that the insecurity and strain that you experienced during the recent events, differs from the pain that the people of Iraq, Yemen, Syria and Afghanistan have been experiencing for many years, in two significant ways.  First, the Islamic world has been the victim of terror and brutality to a larger extent territorially, to greater amount quantitatively and for a longer period in terms of time. Second, that unfortunately this violence has been supported by certain great powers through various methods and effective means. 
Today, there are very few people who are uninformed about the role of the United States of America in creating, nurturing and arming al-Qaeda, the Taliban and their inauspicious successors.  Besides this direct support, the overt and well-known supporters of takfiri terrorism- despite having the most backward political systems- are standing arrayed as allies of the west while the most pioneering, brightest and most dynamic democrats in the region are suppressed mercilessly. The prejudiced response of the west to the awakening movement in the Islamic world is an illustrative example of the contradictory western policies.
The other side of these contradictory policies is seen in supporting the state terrorism of Israel.  The oppressed people of Palestine have experienced the worst kind of terrorism for the last sixty years.  If the people of Europe have now taken refuge in their homes for a few days and refrain from being present in busy places- it is decades that a Palestinian family is not secure even in its own home from the Zionist regime’s death and destruction machinery. What kind of atrocious violence today is comparable to that of the settlement constructions of the Zionists regime?
This regime- without ever being seriously and significantly censured by its influential allies or even by the so-called independent international organizations- everyday demolishes the homes of Palestinians and destroys their orchards and farms.  This is done without even giving them time to gather their belongings or agricultural products and usually it is done in front of the terrified and tear-filled eyes of women and children who witness the brutal beatings of their family members who in some cases are being dragged away to gruesome torture chambers.  In today’s world, do we know of any other violence on this scale and scope and for such an extended period of time?
Shooting down a woman in the middle of the street for the crime of protesting against a soldier who is armed to the teeth- if this is not terrorism, what is? This barbarism, because it is being done by the armed forces of an occupying government, should not be called extremism? Or maybe only because these scenes have been seen repeatedly on television screens for sixty years, they should no longer stir our consciences.
The military invasions of the Islamic world in recent years- with countless victims- are another example of the contradictory logic of the west. The assaulted countries, in addition to the human damage caused, have lost their economic and industrial infrastructure, their movement towards growth and development has been stopped or delayed and in some cases, has been thrown back decades.  Despite all this, they are rudely being asked not to see themselves as oppressed.  How can a country be turned into ruins, have its cities and towns covered in dust and then be told that it should please not view itself as oppressed? Instead of enticements to not understand and to not mention disasters, would not an honest apology be better?  The pain that the Islamic world has suffered in these years from the hypocrisy and duplicity of the invaders is not less than the pain from the material damage.
Dear youth! I have the hope that you- now or in the future- can change this mentality corrupted by duplicity, a mentality whose highest skill is hiding long-term goals and adorning malevolent objectives.  In my opinion, the first step in creating security and peace is reforming this violence-breeding mentality.  Until double-standards dominate western policies, until terrorism- in the view of its powerful supporters- is divided into “good” and “bad” types, and until governmental interests are given precedence over human values and ethics, the roots of violence should not be searched for in other places.
Unfortunately, these roots have taken hold in the depths of western political culture over the course of many years and they have caused a soft and silent invasion.  Many countries of the world take pride in their local and national cultures, cultures which through development and regeneration have soundly nurtured human societies for centuries.  The Islamic world is not an exception to this.  However in the current era, the western world with the use of advanced tools is insisting on the cloning and replication of its culture on a global scale.  I consider the imposition of western culture upon other peoples and the trivialization of independent cultures as a form of silent violence and extreme harmfulness. 
Humiliating rich cultures and insulting the most honored parts of these, is occurring while the alternative culture being offered in no way has any qualification for being a replacement.  For example, the two elements of “aggression” and “moral promiscuity” which unfortunately have become the main elements of western culture, has even degraded the position and acceptability of its source region.      
So now the question is: are we “sinners” for not wanting an aggressive, vulgar and fatuous culture? Are we to be blamed for blocking the flood of impropriety that is directed towards our youth in the shape of various forms of quasi-art?  I do not deny the importance and value of cultural interaction.  Whenever these interactions are conducted in natural circumstances and with respect for the receiving culture, they result in growth, development and richness.
On the contrary, inharmonious interactions have been unsuccessful and harmful impositions.
We have to state with full regret that vile groups such as DAESH are the spawn of such ill-fated pairings with imported cultures.  If the matter was simply theological, we would have had to witness such phenomena before the colonialist era, yet history shows the contrary.  Authoritative historical records clearly show how colonialist confluence of extremist and rejected thoughts in the heart of a Bedouin tribe, planted the seed of extremism in this region.  How then is it possible that such garbage as DAESH comes out of one of the most ethical and humane religious schools who as part of its inner core, includes the notion that taking the life of one human being is equivalent to killing the whole humanity?
One has to ask why people who are born in Europe and who have been intellectually and mentally nurtured in that environment are attracted to such groups?  Can we really believe that people with only one or two trips to war zones, suddenly become so extreme that they can riddle the bodies of their compatriots with bullets?  On this matter, we certainly cannot forget about the effects of a life nurtured in a pathologic culture in a corrupt environment borne out of violence.  On this matter, we need complete analyses, analyses that see the hidden and apparent corruptions.  Maybe a deep hate- planted in the years of economic and industrial growth and borne out of inequality and possibly legal and structural prejudice- created ideas that every few years appear in a sickening manner. 
In any case, you are the ones that have to uncover the apparent layers of your own society and untie and disentangle the knots and resentments. Fissures have to be sealed, not deepened. Hasty reactions is a major mistake when fighting terrorism which only widens the chasms. Any rushed and emotional reaction which would isolate, intimidate and create more anxiety for the Muslim communities living in Europe and America- which are comprised of millions of active and responsible human beings- and which would deprive them of their basic rights more than has already happened and which would drive them away from society- not only will not solve the problem but will increase the chasms and resentments.
Superficial measures and reactions, especially if they take legal forms, will do nothing but increase the current polarizations, open the way for future crises and will result in nothing else.
According to reports received, some countries in Europe have issued guidelines encouraging citizens to spy on Muslims.  This behavior is unjust and we all know that pursuing injustice has the characteristic of unwanted reversibility.  Besides, the Muslims do not deserve such ill-treatment.  For centuries, the western world has known Muslims well- the day that westerners were guests in Islamic lands and were attracted to the riches of their hosts and on another day when they were hosts and benefitted from the efforts and thoughts of Muslims- they generally experienced nothing but kindness and forbearance.
Therefore I want you youth to lay the foundations for a correct and honorable interaction with the Islamic world based on correct understanding, deep insight and lessons learned from horrible experiences.  In such a case and in the not too distant future, you will witness the edifice built on these firm foundations which creates a shade of confidence and trust which cools the crown of its architect, a warmth of security and peace that it bequests on them and a blaze of hope in a bright future which illuminates the canvass of the earth.


Putin in Tehran to Discuss Syria, Boost Ties

On November 23, Russian President Vladimir Putin arrived in Tehran for talks with Iranian leaders on the Syrian crisis, the fight against ISIS and implementing the nuclear deal. Putin’s visit, his first in eight years, was timed to coincide with an international gas summit. Presidential aid Yuri Ushakov said that Russian and Iranian leaders were to discuss “all topical issues of bilateral cooperation - trade and investment cooperation, nuclear energy, oil and gas production, military and technical cooperation.”
Putin reportedly went directly from the airport to meet with Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. The Syrian conflict was a main topic of discussion. “No one outside of Syria can and should impose on its people some forms of government and who personally must govern it. This should only be decided by the Syrian people,” said Putin. Russian presidential press officer Dmitry Peskov said the meeting lasted more than 1.5 hours. “The meeting participants had a very detailed exchange of opinions, it was emphasized that Moscow and Tehran agree on the unacceptability of dictating political settlement options from the outside and that there is no alternative to the implementation of this political method by the people of Syria,” said Peskov.  

Moscow and Tehran have stepped up coordination in Syria since Russia launched an air campaign against forces opposed to the Bashar al Assad’s regime, including the so-called Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL. Both Russia and Iran support Assad’s government and oppose Sunni jihadist movements.

While in Tehran, Putin also signed a decree lifting the ban on supplying Iran with uranium enrichment equipment for its nuclear program. Russia has said it will help Iran export surplus enriched uranium and send raw uranium in exchange. It will also help Iran modify nuclear facilities at Arak and Fordo as part of implementing the nuclear deal reached in July 2015. Iran has committed to reduce its low-enriched uranium stockpile by some 98 percent to 300 kg for 15 years. 

The supreme leader’s remarks from his meeting with Putin were published in the following string of tweets on his official account. Putin's remarks are below. 

President Vladimir Putin 
“The expansion of the two countries’ relations, including in [the areas of] technology, aerospace, and advanced technologies has been enjoying a faster pace, and we are very happy to have a very active cooperation with the president of the Islamic Republic of Iran on [issues of] security and the resolution of regional and global crises.” 
“We are committed that, unlike some, never stab our partners from the back and we would never act against our friends behind the scenes. Even if we have a difference, we would reach an agreement through dialogue.” 
“As Your Excellency [the Leader of the Islamic Revolution] stated, Americans want to bring to the negotiating table what they could not achieve in the battlefields of Syria, and we are cautious of this issue.” 
“Our cooperation in solving crises is very visible. Our views are very similar. A solution needs to be found that satisfies all religious and political forces in Syria. Nobody can or should force upon the Syrian people certain structures of power, state, or leaders from outside. That can only be decided by the Syrian people.”
“Nobody has the right to impose his views on the Syrian people and decide on their behalf on the government system and the destiny of the Syrian president.” 
“The Islamic Republic of Iran is an independent and solid strong country with very good prospects, and we see you as a trustworthy and reliable ally in the region and the world.”
—Nov. 23, 2015, in a meeting with Supreme Leader Khamenei via Tehran Times, Fars News and France 24
Putin then addressed the third Gas Exporting Countries Forum. 
Later in the day, President Hassan Rouhani and President Putin signed seven memoranda of understanding. Russia and Iran agreed to facilitate travel for their citizens to either country. The other memoranda were related to health, railways, banking and insurance, power generation and transmission, and groundwater exploration. They also held a joint press conference.
President Hassan Rouhani
“For many years, Iran and Russia have had good relations in the field of nuclear energy and today these relations will develop.”
“A lot of investment opportunities in different economic areas such as energy, oil and gas, electricity, railways, and infrastructure projects are ahead of the private and public sectors of both countries and by using them, Tehran-Moscow ties will cement more than before.”
“We have also decided to expand the already-existing cooperation on regional issues.”
“The available opportunities will certainly provide the basis for further collaboration in line with taking more serious steps to benefit the two nations as well as the region.”
—Nov. 23, 2015, in a joint press conference
President Vladimir Putin
“Good talks were conducted with ministers, heads of key organizations and institutes after the discussions with Iran’s Supreme Leader.”
“Various aspects of bilateral relations were discussed at the meetings including economy as well as the fight against terrorism.”
“We plan to make a list of goods required by both sides and further to use national currencies in payments between the two countries.”
“We discussed Russia’s plan to allocate a credit line worth five billion dollars to Iran as well. 25 priority projects in various fields particularly in energy, construction, manufacturing of marine terminals as well as communications will be carried out by Iran and Russia.”
“We saw that a large set of documents, which is supposed to stimulate cooperation in various spheres, was signed just now. We shall pay necessary attention to diversification of commodity nomenclature, [and] make greater use of national currencies in bilateral payments.”

“Currently, the construction of Bushehr nuclear power plant has been accomplished and we intend to begin phases two and three of the project.”

“We are planning to design a road map for the Iranian nuclear issue and will help with the conversion of enriched uranium and the production of stable isotopes.”

“Iran and Russia will pursue cooperation for finding a political solution to the Syrian issue.”
—Nov. 23, 2015, in a joint press conference

UN: Iran Dismantling Nuclear Equipment

Iran has uninstalled nearly a quarter of its uranium-enriching centrifuges since October 18, also known as the nuclear deal’s Adoption Day, according to a new U.N. watchdog report. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) found that Iran has removed 4,500 centrifuges at the Natanz and Fordo facilities. But it still has to uninstall another 10,000 centrifuges to reach the target of 5,000. Iran’s stock of low enriched uranium also increased to the equivalent of 12,639.6 kg, up by 460 kg since August. Under the nuclear agreement, Iran must eventually cut the stockpile to 300 kg. The following are excerpts from analysis by the Institute for Science and International Security and remarks by IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano.
Analysis of IAEA Iran Safeguards Report
By David Albright, Serena Kelleher-Vergantini, Andrea Stricker, and Daniel Schnur
November 18, 2015
This report covers the International Atomic Energy Agency’s (IAEA’s) latest safeguards report on Iran dated November 18, 2015 and the reporting period since the last safeguards report from August 27, 2015, during which the interim Joint Plan of Action has remained in effect. It also discusses Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) and IAEA/Iran Roadmap related activities and developments.
Key Findings:
1) Since October 18, 2015, also known as Adoption Day, Iran removed 4,112 IR-1 centrifuges and related infrastructure from the Natanz Fuel Enrichment Plant (FEP) Hall A and stored them in Hall B. Iran has been removing an average of about 147 IR-1 centrifuges per day. At this rate, Iran would need another one and a half months to finish dismantling the required number of IR-1 centrifuges at the FEP under the JCPOA. It appears to be dismantling these centrifuges faster than expected.
2) Since October 18, 2015, Iran removed 160 IR-2m centrifuges and related infrastructure from the Natanz FEP Hall A and stored them in Hall B. The dismantlement rate of the IR-2m centrifuges was only on average 6 per day, suggesting possibly more care being taken in dismantling these centrifuges or a recent start to their dismantlement. The latter would suggest a commitment to dismantle the IR-1 centrifuges first.
3) Since October 18, 2015, Iran removed 258 IR-1 centrifuges and related infrastructure from the Fordow Fuel Enrichment Plant. However, the removed centrifuges remained in the FFEP cascade hall.
4) Iran has started recovering uranium from its near 20 percent liquid, solid, and fuel items scrap. As of November 2015, Iran has fed 95.9 kg of this scrap into the uranium recovery process, recovered 44.7 kg of uranium in the form of oxide, and has so far used 30.4 kg of this recovered material to manufacture Teheran Research Reactor (TRR) fuel items. The IAEA also reported that Iran ceased this recovery effort on November 7, 2015. However, 39.4 kg of uranium in scrap fed into the recovery line are stuck in process.
5) After a lengthy delay, the Enriched UO2 Powder Plant (EUPP) finally started producing more LEU dioxide. As of November 9, 2015, the plant had produced 2,330 kg of uranium in the form of UO2 enriched up to 5 percent uranium 235.
6) Under the separate IAEA/Iran Roadmap, the IAEA reports that all of the activities set out for the period to October 15 were completed on schedule. The IAEA report does not contain any details on the status or any preliminary findings of its investigation about the possible military dimensions (PMD) of Iran’s nuclear programs. The IAEA states that it will issue by December 15 a report to the IAEA Board of Governors regarding the PMD issue. The safeguards report provides no details about the controversial arrangement between the IAEA and Iran whereby Iran took environmental samples at the Parchin site under IAEA direction, albeit without IAEA inspectors being physically present during the sampling.
7) Based on the IAEA values in the report, Iran has in total the equivalent of 12,639.6 kg of 3.5 percent LEU hexafluoride. The inventory is 8,305.6 kg of 3.5 percent LEU hexafluoride and the equivalent of another 4,334 kg of 3.5 percent LEU hexafluoride in various chemical forms at the EUPP. This stock of 3.5 percent LEU has increased by 460 kg since August 2015.
Remarks by IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano
Mr President,
As I mentioned, there have been important developments concerning the implementation of IAEA safeguards in Iran.
In July, Iran and the P5+1 countries agreed on a Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. The Security Council asked the IAEA to undertake verification and monitoring of Iran’s nuclear-related commitments under the JCPOA, and our Board of Governors authorised us to do so.
Iran will implement the Additional Protocol to its Safeguards Agreement with the IAEA. This is a powerful verification tool that will give the Agency greater access to information and to locations in Iran.
Iran also agreed to implement a number of additional transparency measures. These go beyond the scope of the additional protocol and will help the Agency to better understand Iran’s nuclear activities.
Also in July, I signed a Road-map with Iran for the clarification of possible military dimensions to the country’s nuclear programme by the end of this year. Activities set out in the Road-map were completed by the target date of October 15th.
We are now finalising our analysis of all of the information at our disposal. I will present my final assessment on all past and present outstanding issues to the IAEA Board of Governors by December 15th. My report will be factual, objective and impartial. Our Member States will determine the appropriate response.
Mr President,
Much work remains to be done, but I believe the significant progress made on the Iran nuclear issue represents a real success for diplomacy. It demonstrates that even complex and challenging issues can be tackled effectively if all parties are committed to dialogue – not dialogue for its own sake, but dialogue aimed at achieving results.
In the case of Iran, the sustained efforts of the IAEA, the P5+1 countries, the Security Council – and, of course, Iran itself – have got us to where we are today. The IAEA was able to make a vital contribution by sticking to its technical mandate and not straying into politics. 
The agreements reached in July represent a clear net gain for the IAEA from the verification point of view.
The Agency will continue to implement safeguards in Iran with a view to being able to draw what we call the “broader conclusion” – that all nuclear material remains in peaceful activities – in due course.
Click here for ISIS’s full analysis.
Click here for the full IAEA report.
Click here for Amano’s full statement.

Click here to read David Albright and Andrea Stricker’s chapter on Iran’s nuclear program. 


Photo credit: Yukiya Amano via Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade website – www.dfat.gov.au (CC 3.0) 

Tags: IAEA, Reports

Iran Attends Syria Peace Talks in Vienna

On November 14, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif arrived in Vienna for a new round of peace talks on Syria with representatives from 17 countries, the United Nations, the European Union, and the Arab League. Secretary of State John Kerry noted that the talks had made "critical progress," which included a plan to hold U.N.-supervised elections in 18 months. But the parties differed on whether Syrian President Bashar al Assad should be allowed to participate. "Iran disagrees with those who say Bashar al Assad should not compete in the upcoming elections," said Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian.
The talks were a continuation of discussions held in Vienna on October 30, which Iran also attended. The invitation for Iran to join the talks, which was backed by the United States, marks a major change after two earlier failed peace initiatives in 2012 and 2014. In January 2014, U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon initially invited Iran to a conference in Geneva. But under U.S. pressure, he withdrew it one day later. His spokesperson cited Iranian public statements that were “not at all consistent” with oral assurances Tehran had given regarding the Geneva Communique, which calls for a transitional government to lead to free and fair elections. 

The following is a statement released by the parties after the November 14 talks, followed by excerpted remarks from officials.

Statement of the International Syria Support Group
Meeting in Vienna on November 14, 2015 as the International Syria Support Group (ISSG), the Arab League, China, Egypt, the EU, France, Germany, Iran, Iraq, Italy, Jordan, Lebanon, Oman, Qatar, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom, the United Nations, and the United States to discuss how to accelerate an end to the Syrian conflict. The participants began with a moment of silence for the victims of the heinous terrorist attacks of November 13 in Paris and the recent attacks in Beirut, Iraq, Ankara, and Egypt. The members unanimously condemned in the strongest terms these brutal attacks against innocent civilians and stood with the people of France.
Subsequently, the participants engaged in a constructive dialogue to build upon the progress made in the October 30 gathering. The members of the ISSG expressed a unanimous sense of urgency to end the suffering of the Syrian people, the physical destruction of Syria, the destabilization of the region, and the resulting increase in terrorists drawn to the fighting in Syria.
The ISSG acknowledged the close linkage between a ceasefire and a parallel political process pursuant to the 2012 Geneva Communique, and that both initiatives should move ahead expeditiously. They stated their commitment to ensure a Syrian-led and Syrian-owned political transition based on the Geneva Communique in its entirety. The group reached a common understanding on several key issues.
The group agreed to support and work to implement a nationwide ceasefire in Syria to come into effect as soon as the representatives of the Syrian government and the opposition have begun initial steps towards the transition under UN auspices on the basis of the Geneva Communique.
The five Permanent Members of the UN Security Council pledged to support a UNSC resolution to empower a UN-endorsed ceasefire monitoring mission in those parts of the country where monitors would not come under threat of attacks from terrorists, and to support a political transition process in accordance with the Geneva Communique. All members of the ISSG also pledged as individual countries and supporters of various belligerents to take all possible steps to require adherence to the ceasefire by these groups or individuals they support, supply or influence. The ceasefire would not apply to offensive or defensive actions against Da’esh or Nusra or any other group the ISSG agrees to deem terrorist.
The participants welcomed UN Secretary General Ban’s statement that he has ordered the UN to accelerate planning for supporting the implementation of a nationwide ceasefire. The group agreed that the UN should lead the effort, in consultation with interested parties, to determine the requirements and modalities of a ceasefire.
The ISSG expressed willingness to take immediate steps to encourage confidence-building measures that would contribute to the viability of the political process and to pave the way for the nationwide ceasefire. In this context, and pursuant to clause 5 of the Vienna Communique, the ISSG discussed the need to take steps to ensure expeditious humanitarian access throughout the territory of Syria pursuant to UNSCR 2165 and called for the granting of the UN’s pending requests for humanitarian deliveries. The ISSG expressed concern for the plight of refugees and internally displaced persons and the imperative of building conditions for their safe return in accordance with the norms of international humanitarian law and taking into account the interests of host countries. The resolution of the refugee issue is important to the final settlement of the Syrian conflict. The ISSG also reaffirmed the devastating effects of the use of indiscriminate weapons on the civilian population and humanitarian access, as stated in UNSCR 2139. The ISSG agreed to press the parties to end immediately any use of such indiscriminate weapons.
The ISSG reaffirmed the importance of abiding by all relevant UN Security Council resolutions, including UNSCR 2199 on stopping the illegal trade in oil, antiquities and hostages, from which terrorists benefit.
Pursuant to the 2012 Geneva Communique, incorporated by reference in the Vienna statement of October 30, and in U.N. Security Council Resolution 2118, the ISSG agreed on the need to convene Syrian government and opposition representatives in formal negotiations under UN auspices, as soon as possible, with a target date of January 1. The group welcomed efforts, working with United Nations Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura and others, to bring together the broadest possible spectrum of the opposition, chosen by Syrians, who will decide their negotiating representatives and define their negotiating positions, so as to enable the political process to begin. All the parties to the political process should adhere to the guiding principles identified at the October 30 meeting, including a commitment to Syria’s unity, independence, territorial integrity, and non-sectarian character; to ensuring that State institutions remain intact; and to protecting the rights of all Syrians, regardless of ethnicity or religious denomination. ISSG members agreed that these principles are fundamental.
The ISSG members reaffirmed their support for the transition process contained in the 2012 Geneva Communique. In this respect they affirmed their support for a ceasefire as described above and for a Syrian-led process that will, within a target of six months, establish credible, inclusive and non-sectarian governance, and set a schedule and process for drafting a new constitution. Free and fair elections would be held pursuant to the new constitution within 18 months. These elections must be administered under UN supervision to the satisfaction of the governance and to the highest international standards of transparency and accountability, with all Syrians, including the diaspora, eligible to participate.
Regarding the fight against terrorism, and pursuant to clause 6 of the Vienna Communique, the ISSG reiterated that Da’esh, Nusra, and other terrorist groups, as designated by the UN Security Council, and further, as agreed by the participants and endorsed by the UN Security Council, must be defeated. The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan agreed to help develop among intelligence and military community representatives a common understanding of groups and individuals for possible determination as terrorists, with a target of completion by the beginning of the political process under UN auspices.
The participants expect to meet in approximately one month in order to review progress towards implementation of a ceasefire and the beginning of the political process.
—Nov. 14, 2015, via the European Union External Action Service
United States
Secretary of State John Kerry
"Today, Sergey Lavrov and I and Staffan joined representatives from the Arab League, China, Egypt, the European Union, France, Germany, Iran, Iraq, Italy, Jordan, Lebanon, Oman, Qatar, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, the UAE, the UK, and the United Nations. And we did so because we all recognize the urgency of this moment. There can be no doubt: This crisis is not Syria’s alone to bear. The impacts of this war bleed into all of our nations: from the flood of desperate migrants seeking refuge within the region or in Europe or beyond; to the foreign terrorist fighters making their way into Syria to join the ranks of groups like Daesh; to self-radicalized fighters, living among us, their minds poisoned by Daesh’s propaganda and lies.
"Now, obviously, those of us who met in Vienna today – the International Support Group on Syria – do not agree on all the issues when it comes to Syria. We still differ, obviously, on the issue of what happens with Bashar al-Assad. But we are relying on the political process itself – led by Syrians, which it will be, going forward, and with Syrians negotiating with Syrians – that that can help to bring a close to this terrible chapter. We do agree on this: It is time for the bleeding in Syria to stop. It is time to deprive the terrorists of any single kilometer in which to hide. It is time that we come together to help the Syrian people embark on the difficult but extraordinarily high imperative of rebuilding their country.
"I underscore: We did not come here to impose our collective will on the Syrian people. Exactly the opposite; the Syrian people will be – and must be – the validators of our efforts.
The Syrians will be the first to tell you that they need help from the international community, especially a consensus about how to achieve a political transition that will allow them to ultimately shape their own destiny.
"Building that consensus has been our goal here in Vienna; in fact, building the structure, the pathway to be able to achieve that. And while a lot of hard work obviously remains, we have made critical progress. Together, our nations have reached a common understanding, still beyond where we were two weeks ago, regarding a series of steps that we believe will accelerate an end to the Syrian conflict, certainly can accelerate it if people take advantage of this opportunity.
"Based on our shared belief in the necessity of a ceasefire and a parallel political process pursuant to the 2012 Geneva communique, we today discussed and laid out a path towards that political process and ceasefire and towards it on as rapid a path as possible.
We agreed on the need to begin formal negotiations between representatives of the Syrian opposition and the Syrian regime, under UN auspices, with a target date of the two sides actually sitting down negotiating with each other no later, hopefully, than a target date of around January 1st. That’s pushing. The group has agreed to work with Special Envoy de Mistura to assemble the broadest possible spectrum of the Syrian opposition – chosen by Syrians themselves – to define their negotiating positions and determine who their representatives to the talks will be.
"We agreed on the steps – that the steps outlined in the 2012 Geneva communique present the best path forward towards an actual political transition, and we support a Syrian-led transition process within a target of six months that will: establish credible, inclusive and non-sectarian governance; set a schedule and a process for drafting a new constitution; and determine eligibility for voting and candidacy in elections.
"We also agreed that free and fair elections would then be held, pursuant to the new constitution, within 18 months. These elections, we believe, would take place – not we believe – we agreed would take place under UN supervision with an emphasis on transparency and accountability, and with all Syrians, including the diaspora, eligible to participate.
"But, as we underscored, this political process has to be accompanied by a ceasefire that will help to end the bloodshed as quickly as possible, and I might add that will help rapidly to define who wants to be considered a terrorist and who is not, understanding that Daesh and Nusrah are clearly and inexorably in that category now.
"We agreed that the ceasefire would come into effect as soon as the representatives of the Syrian Government and opposition have taken initial steps towards the UN-supervised transition. The five permanent members of the Security Council pledged to support a Security Council resolution to empower a UN-endorsed ceasefire monitoring mission. And in coordination with our talks today, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has ordered the UN to accelerate planning for supporting the implementation of that ceasefire, and the group agreed that the UN should lead the effort, in consultation with interested parties, in order to determine its requirements and its modalities.
"We also pledged to take all possible measures to ensure that all parties – including those currently supported by nations represented here in Vienna – that they will all firmly adhere to the ceasefire. In other words, each country that supports or has influence with or supplies anybody in the field will become an enforcer of the ceasefire. We also agreed to press the parties to immediately end the use of indiscriminate weapons.
"Now, let me be clear: the ceasefire, as I said a moment ago, does not apply either to Daesh or to Nusrah or to subsequently some group that in the days ahead may be determined by the support group as qualifying as a terrorist organization."
– Nov. 14, 2015, at a press conference in Vienna 
Deputy Secretary of State Antony Blinken

Antony Blinken: First, all of the neighbors – Syria’s neighbors in this case – are invited to the meeting in Vienna on Friday, so that includes Iraq, Lebanon, and Iran. And it’s evident that Iran, one way or another, is going to have to be part of the conversation on Syria’s future.  
Marc Perelman (France 24)But it was not part of that conversation because of its supposedly destructive role in Syria, and that hasn’t changed. 
Blinken: Well there are two things. President Obama has been very clear that he is willing to engage with anyone who is willing to try to work for a peaceful outcome in Syria. And as Secretary Kerry has said, Iran one way or another is going to be playing a role. Now unfortunately to date, it’s played a negative role in terms of its support for Bashar al-Assad, in terms of its proxy, Hezbollah, which is helping to prop up the regime. So one of the big questions will be whether Iran is prepared to play a positive role in supporting a political transition. We don’t know the answer to that.  
Perelman: The political transition – you mentioned it. If you talk to Russia, if you talk to Iran, Bashar al-Assad’s two main backers, you’re effectively talking to or with him. This means there is no precondition that he must leave power to discuss. He will be part of a transition, he does not need to leave now.  
Blinken: Our position, and I think the position of most of our partners, is pretty clear. 
Perelman: No, it’s not. 
Blinken: Well we’ll see. And Vienna will help to clarify that as well. There is no future for Syria as a stable, secular, democratic, peaceful country with Assad as president. So any political transition must result in his departure among other things. The question is how exactly to define that process. That’s exactly what we’re working on. But there’s something new here, and that is Russia’s role. …
Perelman: From your conversations with the Russians, are they telling you that they can convince Assad to an acceptable transition – that he would leave power in one year, two years – is this what they’re telling you and is this why you’re trusting them to hold those conversations? 
Blinken: Well we’re at the beginning of this process.  
Perelman: But you’ve had talks. 
Blinken: We’ve had talks but the critical next step will be this meeting in Vienna. This is not going to be resolved in one meeting, or two meetings, or three meetings. But it is the beginning of an intensified process to see if we can get to a political transition process. That’s exactly what we’re working on. I can’t give you the answer now, we don’t know yet. But I think it’s fair to say that no one is wedded to Bashar al-Assad –  
Perelman: Including the Russians? 
Blinken: Well I think you’d have to ask them directly.  
Perelman: And the Iranians? 
Blinken: You’d have to ask them. But we’ll have an opportunity as a result of these conversations and discussions to test those propositions.  
Perelman: Are the Saudis on board with the Iranians being part of that? 
Blinken: Yes.  
Perelman: You know there are serious tensions between the countries…? 
Blinken: Yes. Yes. The answer’s yes.  
Perelman: So you think now the stars are aligned to maybe really find a political solution in the not so distant future in Syria? 
Blinken: Well they’re more aligned than they’ve been. But that doesn’t mean that we’ll get there. But it does mean that there’s a greater opportunity and I think it’s because there’s a growing recognition on the part of all sides that there is no military solution in Syria. And that’s a recognition that’s now growing on the Russians. We’ve known it for a long time. They’re now experiencing it. They cannot win in Syria. They can perhaps prevent Assad from losing, but they can’t win. And meanwhile, they will be bled and their influence will be eroded, and their reputation will be eroded.  

—Oct. 28, 2015 in an interview with France 24

State Department Counselor Tom Shannon
“The secretary thought it was time to bring everybody together and effectively call their bluff, determine whether or not ... their public commitment to fighting [Islamic State] and terrorism is a meaningful one and the extent to which they are prepared to work broadly with international community to convince Mr. Assad that during a political transition process he will have to go.”
—Oct. 29, 2015, to the press
State Department Spokesman John Kirby
I wouldn’t go so far as to say that [Iran is a key partner], but I just mean that you need key – as I said yesterday, there are many stakeholders in Syria and what’s going on. Iran, though we do not certainly by any means approve of the destabilizing activities that they continue to pursue in Syria, recognize that and always have recognize, that at some point in the discussion moving towards a political transition we have to have a conversion and a dialogue with Iran. And so I wouldn’t call them a partner necessarily. But obviously, there are many stakeholders in this, and so we do anticipate that Iran will be asked to participate. Now, whether they come or not, that’s up – that’s up to Iranian leaders.
[T]he goal is to come up with a framework – an agreed-upon, international, multilateral framework – for a successful political transition in Syria, which is – leads to a government not led by Bashar al-Assad and is – that is representative of and response to the Syrian people. That’s the overarching goal.
And as I said yesterday, that’s a difficult task, certainly given the ongoing violence that we’re seeing in Syria and all the different perspectives that many partners and participants in these meetings have and espouse. We understand that. So I can’t tell you exactly what the outcome of the meetings on Friday are going to be or if they’re – it’s the last chapter. I rather doubt that. I think there will be – there’ll continue to be more such discussions with varying degrees of participation internationally. So we just have to see.
But coming out of this last trip to Vienna, the Secretary felt optimistic that enough progress was being made towards laying down the foundation of what a political transition could look like that he felt it was really important to continue that momentum. And that’s what this next meeting in Vienna hopefully will do, will build on this momentum."
—Oct. 28, 2015 in a press briefing
White House Spokesperson Josh Earnest
"To exclude Iran and Russia from these conversations would be a missed opportunity."
—Oct. 29, 2015, according to the press
Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif
“There has been no prerequisite for Iran's presence in the Vienna conference; if it were so we would never take part in the meeting.”
—Oct. 29, 2015 to the press in Vienna
"Those who tried to resolve the Syria crisis have come to the conclusion that without Iran being present, there is no way to reach a reasonable solution to the crisis."
—Oct. 29, 2015 to the press in Vienna
Deputy Foreign Minister Amir Abdollahian
"Iran disagrees with those who say Bashar Assad should not compete in the upcoming elections.”
 – Nov. 16, 2015, according to the press

 “It is the Syrian people that should make a decision whether to elect him [Assad] or not.”
– Nov. 16, 2015, according to the press

“Some participants insisted that if the envisaged trend goes well in a six-month period, Bashar Assad should not contest the upcoming elections.”
“In response, we stressed unequivocally that only Assad himself can decide on his participation or non-participation in the elections and [that] it is only the people of Syria who can say whether they will vote for him or not.”
“The Islamic Republic of Iran did not allow a clause on the ouster of President Assad to be included in the final statement of the Vienna-III talks; we emphasized that only the Syrian people enjoy the right to decide about this matter.”
– Nov. 15, 2015, according to the press
"Iran does not insist on keeping Assad in power forever."
—Oct. 30, 2015, according to the press
"There is no change in the Islamic Republic of Iran's supportive policy for Syria."
—Oct. 29, 2015, according to the press
Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces Major General Hassan Firouzabadi
"The Saudi regime with its all-out support for the ISIL and its terrorist acts in Iraq, Syria and Lebanon as well as numerous crimes, including its attacks on hospitals, schools and people's homes, is a war criminal and its presence in the Vienna multilateral talks is, thus, suspicious and illegitimate."
—Oct. 29, 2015, according to the press
United Kingdom
Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond

“Our discussions in Vienna have been constructive, and there is now momentum behind a process working towards peace for the people of Syria.
“We have agreed to work towards a ceasefire, and to chart a course that will see the Syrian people take charge of their own destiny. The UK remains opposed to Bashar al-Assad playing any part in the future of Syria.
“The terrible attacks in Paris have shown us that a united and strong response to solving the civil war in Syria is needed urgently, to ensure everyone is committed to combating the barbaric threat that ISIL and its followers pose.”
– Nov. 14, 2015, in a statement
European Union

High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini



Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov
"We have reiterated the principles that we have achieved on the 30th of October in Vienna, what the stakeholders see as the Syrian future. We have reiterated that Syrian future will be decided by Syrian people alone. This regards also the destiny of Mr. Assad and any other politician in this country.
"The last time when we met on the 30th of October in Vienna, we decided to do our homework on two areas. The first point is political process and acceleration of the beginning of this process. We have concluded some specific steps that we’re tasking our UN colleagues and Mr. de Mistura with, that is, to gather the opposition and the government no later than the 1st of January. The Government of the Syrian Arab Republic has already informed Mr. de Mistura on the composition of their delegation. And today, Mr. de Mistura has the task to find the composition of the Syrian opposition delegation, which should be representative and reflect the whole spectrum of political forces.
"One and a half year ago, efforts were taken to unify the opposition by our Egyptian colleagues. We also conducted some meetings in Moscow. And today, other representatives of the Syrian Support Group made the initiative to help Mr. de Mistura gather around an opposition delegation. And we welcome the efforts and will help in every way possible to gather the opposition and the government around the negotiation table.
"As John has said, this will be a Syrian-led process and the Syrians will decide which country they will live in. At the same time, we have outlined as a timetable two occasions. The first point is that within six months the Syrian delegations should decide on the joint opposition, the so-called unity government. And then the Syrian people should decide on the – a new constitution, and according to this new constitution the elections will take place, and all this within 18 months.
"That falls within the logic of the Geneva communique of the 30th of June, 2012, where it is stated that Syrians should decide on all the political reforms according to the mutual consent principle. Right after the Geneva communique was adopted, we tried to launch such a political process, but there were a lot of opponents at that point who said that external players – who said that Syrian cannot – the Syrians cannot agree between themselves so the mutual consent is impossible. We used to retort that we should at least try; and today, today I am happy to say that we managed today to at least start launching this political process.
"And the second point of homework which we agreed upon on the 30th of October is trying to find a unified, common list of terrorist organizations. We have mutual agreements, as John has said, that ISIS and al-Nusrah Front are terrorist organizations, but other terrorist groups should also become the legitimate goal that we should fight together with.
"Since the 30th of October, many participants of this group have drafted their own terrorist lists. And today, we have asked Jordan to coordinate the common list of terrorist groups which would be agreed upon in the UN Security Council. Russia would actively participate in this process. In the capital of Jordan, Amman, we have launched an information center also to fight terrorism and will try to do that.
"We all want to stop violence in Syria and the majority of delegations today were for an immediate ceasefire; but unfortunately, not all of them were prepared for that. That is why today we reiterated our commitment to create conditions for a ceasefire and will continue to work in the political vein. And we have acquired information today from the UN secretary general that he has already tasked UN to plan the monitoring mission. We’re prepared to work on that.
"We decided to accelerate efforts on humanitarian assistance, to accelerate efforts on access to those in need, and all that within the context of political process and to find agreements between those in the field. I mean governments and the armed groups, opposition groups, which are not terrorists.
"Overall, I am satisfied that the International Group for Syrian Support has taken place. We are grateful to our colleagues for supporting our proposal to let the secretary general of the League of Arab States to take part in our group, and he has already done that today. And we also managed to make headway on our linked proposal to include the secretary general of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation also to take part in this group.
"I find this fundamentally important because many tried to speculate on the Syrian conflict and tried to incite hatred among the Muslims. That is why I am convinced that the participation of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation will provide consolidation efforts and to affect positively this conflict."
– Nov. 14, 2015, at a press conference in Vienna
Foreign Ministry
“The [two] sides [Iranian and Russian foreign ministers] continued discussion of possible ways of settling the Syrian crisis with a focus on urgent steps towards establishing an intra-Syrian political dialogue.”
“The two diplomats stressed that there is no alternative to promoting this process by all key countries of the region.”
—Oct. 28, 2015 via Russia Today
Saudi Arabia
Foreign Minister Adel al Jubeir
“There will be a meeting on Friday of a broad group of countries supporting the Syrian opposition as a broader group of countries from the region will meet to discuss the intentions of these countries in finding a solution to the Syrian crisis, the most important element of which is the time and means of Bashar al Assad's exit.”
“If they're [Iranians] serious we will know, and if they're not serious we will also know and stop wasting time with them.”

—Oct. 28, 2015 in a press conference  

Foreign Ministry Spokesman Martin Schaefer
“Iran's inclusion in the talks is the only and proper way to settle the Syrian crisis.”

—Oct. 29, 2015, to the press 



Photo credit: US Dept of State via Flickr Commons 

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