Iranian FM leaves for New York to attend UN meeting
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Iranian FM leaves for New York to attend UN meeting

The high-level UN meeting on Sustainable Development Goals aim to tackle a wide range of issues including conflict, hunger, gender equality and climate change by 2030.   According to Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi, Zarif will later leave the US for Venezuela, where he would attend the Ministerial Meeting of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM).   While in Caracas, Zarif will also hold bilateral talks with top Venezuelan officials.   The top Iranian diplomat will then travel to South America to hold bilateral meetings in Nicaragua and Bolivia, said Mousavi.   The trip to New York comes in the wake of the US administration’s earlier plan to blacklist the Iranian top diplomat.   US President Donald Trump on June 24 announced new sanctions against Iran targeting Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and top commanders of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC). Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said then Zarif would be blacklisted that week.   However, two sources familiar with the matter told Reuters on Thursday that the US had decided not to impose sanctions on Zarif “for now” but did not give specific reasons for it.   "Cooler heads prevailed. We ... saw it as not necessarily helpful," said one source familiar with the matter who spoke on condition of anonymity, adding that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had opposed designating Zarif "for the time being."   Until Friday, the US had refused to issue Zarif a visa despite the US government’s obligations under the UN Headquarters Agreement.   A US State Department spokesperson told Al-Monitor on Friday that the US takes its "obligations under the UN Headquarters Agreement seriously," and it "adjudicates visa applications accordingly and in compliance with US law.”   Zarif is seen as the architect of a 2015 multilateral nuclear deal, which the Trump administration abruptly abandoned last year. The US reinstated its unilateral sanctions against the Islamic Republic following its exit from the landmark deal.   The State Department's spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus said on Thursday Washington wants a diplomatic resolution of the nuclear issue and stated that President Trump is willing to meet Iranian leaders "without preconditions."  

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