Daily Kickoff: Israel & Lebanon trade gunfire; Saudi Prince bashes Obama’s Foreign Policy; List of Jewish leaders’ salaries; Bloomberg Associates
David Ignatius: Q&A with Mohammad Javad Zarif, Iran’s foreign minister – Washington Post: Q: David Ignatius: Let me begin by asking about the state of the negotiations. After your delegation left technical negotiations in Vienna on Friday, your colleague Abbas Aragchi said that the U.S. announcement of a move to strengthen enforcement of existing sanctions “is against the spirit” of the Geneva deal” and said that Iran was evaluating an “appropriate response.” Can you clarify that and explain what you think Iran’s position should be.
A: Mohammad Javad Zarif, Iranian foreign minister: We are committed to ensuring that the process that we started — and it required a lot of courage on our side to reach his agreement — will lead to a satisfactory conclusion that would address the requirements as stated in the [Geneva interim] agreement — that is, to have an enrichment program in Iran while at the same time both concerns as well as restrictions imposed by the international community will be removed. This is the objective. Since we believe our program is exclusively for peaceful purposes, we have no desire to leave any ambiguity about the exclusively peaceful nature of our program. So on our side, we believe it is very easy to reach an agreement. Of course it requires serious political will and good faith in order to reach that agreement.” [WashPost]
Iranian Foreign Minister says no trace in Iran of missing Jewish ex-FBI agent: “There are no traces in Iran of the former FBI agent who disappeared there six years ago, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said on CBS’s “Face The Nation” on Sunday.” [Reuters] (more…)