Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif

Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has reaffirmed the peaceful nature of the Islamic Republic’s nuclear energy program, saying the US must learn a lesson from futile sanctions imposed on Tehran.

“A group in the US thinks that sanctions will bear fruit. Therefore, they are pursuing the approach of more pressure but they must learn lessons from its ineffectiveness in the past,” Zarif said in a meeting with Japanese Head of Iran-Japan Parliamentary Friendship Group Komura Masahiko in Tokyo on Wednesday.

“The Islamic Republic of Iran believes that negotiations have a solution if goodwill and firm determination exist,” the Iranian minister added.

He emphasized that Iran has never sought nuclear weapons and the country’s nuclear program does not include non-peaceful applications.

He further pointed to opportunities for the expansion of Iran-Japan ties and noted that according to the Geneva nuclear deal, the two countries can cooperate with each other in the fields of nuclear safety and generation of nuclear electricity.

Iran and the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council – Russia, China, France, Britain and the US — plus Germany inked an interim deal on Tehran’s nuclear energy program in Geneva, Switzerland, on November 24, 2013. The Geneva accord, dubbed the Joint Plan of Action, took effect on January 20.

The Japanese official, for his part, said his country welcomes the nuclear deal reached between Iran and the P5+1 and commended the implementation of the deal and progress of the talks.

He said all countries have a certain right to use peaceful nuclear energy, adding that Japan will help both sides reach a final agreement.

He stressed the importance of building confidence about Iran’s peaceful nuclear activities and the removal of sanctions against the country.

The Iranian minister arrived in Tokyo on Tuesday for a two-day visit to discuss bilateral ties as well as regional and international issues with senior Japanese officials. Zarif’s visit is taking place at the invitation of his Japanese counterpart Fumio Kishida.

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