UPDATE 2025 GMT: Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and US Secretary of State John Kerry take today’s meetings — three rounds lasting 7 hours — to the streets of Geneva:
— Golnaz Esfandiari (@GEsfandiari) January 14, 2015
UPDATE 1425 GMT: The 1st meeting between Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and US Secretary of State John Kerry has ended after 100 minutes.
No details were given, with Zarif merely restating that an agreement can be reached if there is “sufficient political will”.
UPDATE 1345 GMT: Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said on Wednesday that dialogue with the West would be easier if it respected Muslim sensitivities.
Zarif was speaking to reporters before meeting US Secretary of State John Kerry in Geneva about nuclear issues.
“I think [the meeting] is important. I think it will show the readiness of the two parties to move forward and to speed up the process,” Zarif said.
Zarif commented on today’s cover of the French satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo, which suffered a deadly attack last week, in which a tearful Prophet Mohammad is shown with a sign “Je suis Charlie” below the headline “All Is Forgiven”:
Unless we learn to respect one another, it will be very difficult.
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and US Secretary of State John Kerry will meet in Geneva on Wednesday, before the resumption of Iran’s talks with the US and the other 5+1 Powers (Britain, France, Germany, China, and Russia) over Tehran’s nuclear program.
Pursuing a comprehensive agreement over Iran’s facilities and enrichment of uranium, the Iranians will meet US counterparts from Thursday to Saturday before plenary talks with the 5+1 on Sunday at the level of political deputies.
On Tuesday, the Supreme Leader’s office put out a Twitter message restating Ayatollah Khamenei’s call for a firm Iranian line — and for measures for a “Resistance Economy” if there is no resolution:
— Khamenei.ir (@khamenei_ir) January 13, 2015
This morning, President Rouhani made his point through the visit to Bushehr, the site of Iran’s first nuclear plant, in the south of the country. Rouhani said Iran had made great strides in nuclear energy and would not be deterred from doing so — even by US-led sanctions, which he said would be overcome — in the future.
The two sides are still debating the number of level of Iran’s centrifuges for uranium enrichment. Despite rumors in some mainstream outlets, fed by unnamed diplomats, Iran and the 5+1 have not pointed to advances since talks failed to reach a comprehensive settlement in late November.
Interim arrangements were extended to July 1 to allow negotiations to continue. Iran and the 5+1 last met — again preceded by direct Iran-US talks — in Geneva in mid-December.
Washington Post Journalist Rezaian Indicted — on Unknown Charges — After 5 1/2 Months in Detention
Iranian authorities have indicted Jason Rezaian, the Washington Post correspondent in Tehran, after 5 1/2 months of detention.
Tehran Prosecutor General Abbas Jafari Dowlatabadi did not outline the charges, which was levelled last month against Rezaian, on which the journalist will stand trial in Revolutionary Court.
Rezaian, a dual Iranian-American national who has been bureau chief in Tehran since 2012, was arrested in late July with his wife, journalist Yeganeh Salehi, and two photojournalists who were soon released. Salehi was freed on bail in October.
State news agency IRNA said Rezaian’s mother was able to see him twice during her recent visit to Tehran.
MP Motahari Denounces Attack on Him in Parliament Amid Call for Freeing of Opposition Leaders
Prominent MP Ali Motahari has issued a statement condemning the physical attack on him by other legislators as he was speaking in Parliament on Sunday.
Hardline MPs rushed the podium after Motahari called for the release of opposition leaders Mir Hossein Mousavi, Mehdi Karroubi, and Zahra Rahnavard from their 47-month house arrests.
The MPs jostled Motahari and declared that he was supporting “sedition”, the regime’s label for the mass protests after the disputed 2009 Presidential election in which Mousavi and Karroubi were candidates.
The chair of the session, Deputy Speaker of Parliament Mohammad Hassan Abutorabi Fard, halted Motahari’s statement and briefly suspended proceedings.
Some legislators have said they plan to hold a demonstration against Motahari following this week’s Friday Prayers.
Funeral for Revolutionary Guards Officer Killed in Fighting in Northwest Syria
Revolutionary Guards officer Hossein Ahmadi was buried on Sunday, following his death last week in fighting in northwest Syria.
Iranian media put out the template line that Ahmadi was “defending the Seyyeda Zeinab Shrine in Damascus”. In fact, he died while commanding Syrian forces during an insurgent offensive against two key regime villages north of Aleppo.
Iran Denounces Charlie Hebdo “Provocative” Cover with Prophet Mohammad
Iran’s Foreign Ministry has denounced the satirical French magazine Charlie Hebdo for printing an image of Prophet Mohammad on its cover, following last week’s attack on the publication which killed 12 people.
“We condemn the French weekly’s provocative move, because it hurts sentiments of Muslims,” spokeswoman Marzieh Afkham said. “The abuse of freedom of expression in the West is unacceptable,” she underlined.
Today’s edition of Charlie Hebdo shows the Prophet Muhammad, with a tear in his eye, holding a “Je Suis Charlie” sign under the inscription, “All is Forgiven”.
Three million copies of the magazine, which has a normal press run of 60,000, have been printed.