Kerry to meet Iranian foreign minister to discuss nuclear deal, Syria


U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry will meet with his Iranian counterpart to discuss the Iran nuclear deal and the crisis in Syria.

Kerry will meet Javad Zarif in New York on Tuesday, a State Department statement said Monday.

The two top diplomats will “discuss implementation of the JCPOA,” the statement said, referring to the formal name of the Iran nuclear deal, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, “and to follow up on earlier conversations regarding regional issues, including reaching a political resolution to the Syria crisis.”

The meeting comes as Israel, some pro-Israel groups, Republicans and some Democrats in Congress are calling on the Obama administration to ramp up sanctions on Iran for testing ballistic missiles and enhancing its backing for rogue actors in the Middle East.

The Obama administration has faulted Iran for these actions, but also has said the Iranian regime is observing the letter of the nuclear rollback for sanctions relief deal.

Iran backs the Assad regime in Syria, where the Obama administration and other Western and Sunni Arab nations hope to diminish the influence both of Bashar Assad and Islamist rebels while bolstering the secular opposition.

Following his meeting with Zarif, Kerry will head to Egypt for a discussion of bilateral and regional issues with President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi, and then Saudi Arabia, where he will join President Barack Obama at a regional cooperation summit.

+