Iran warns North and South Korea about ‘provocation and interference’ from US throughout their peace process

Tehran said US has become more ‘unreliable under Trump’ and Pyongyang should be wary of making any nuclear agreements with Washington

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 28 April, 2018, 7:55pm
UPDATED : Saturday, 28 April, 2018, 8:08pm

Iran’s Foreign Ministry on Saturday hailed the outcome of the historic summit between the leaders of North and South Korea, calling it “a responsible step on the right path”, but warned both countries against allowing the United States to block the way to peace on the Korean Peninsula.

Tehran, which is waiting for Washington to decide whether it will withdraw from a 2015 agreement under which Iran agreed to actions to prevent it from developing nuclear weapons in return for financial sanctions being lifted, cautioned against trusting the US in any negotiations about nuclear weapons.

The US government is not a reliable player and ... not qualified to have a role in determining the equations and arrangements between countries
Bahram Qassemi, Iran’s foreign ministry spokesman

Iran believes the outcome of Friday’s summit talks between South Korean President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un can “contribute heavily to the establishment of lasting peace and security in the region and across the world”, said a post on the foreign ministry website quoting spokesman Bahram Qassemi.

Iran, which was usually silent after North Korea’s past nuclear weapon and missile tests, this time spoke out quickly in support of disarmament and denuclearisation.

“The Islamic Republic of Iran has always wanted detente on the Korean Peninsula, and welcomes efforts and actions by leaders of North Korea and South Korea to ensure detente and normalised relations between the two countries,” Qassemi said. “Iran’s fundamental and permanent policy is to oppose the production, possession, maintenance and use of weapons of mass destruction, and has supported any attempt that would lead to a world free from such arms.”

Qassemi then warned both North and South Korea to be on guard against US “provocation and interference” in their peace process, adding the US has become more “unreliable under the Trump presidency”.

“The recent experience on the JCPOA issue show the US government is not a reliable player and is not bound by its international obligations, and, as a result, is not qualified to have a role in determining the equations and arrangements between countries,” Qassemi said.

JCPOA is an acronym for Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, the six-party agreement under which Iran agreed to cap uranium enrichment at below the level needed to make nuclear weapons, and to allow intrusive international inspections to ensure compliance, in return for the lifting of crippling financial sanctions.

US President Donald Trump has threatened to withdraw the US from the deal involving not only Iran, but also Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia and the European Union, if an agreement to revamp it to his satisfaction cannot be reached by May 12.

Simultaneously, efforts are underway to arrange face-to-face talks between Trump and Kim within the coming weeks, at which Trump is expected to demand Kim agree to dispose of nuclear weapons North Korea is believed to possess in return for the lifting of sanctions.