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Iran Foreign Minister to visit North Korea amid sanctions

A date for Javad Zarif's North Korea visit will reportedly be announced soon [AFP/Getty]

Date of publication: 28 April, 2019

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Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has said he is planning a visit to North Korea, amid continued US sanctions on both states.
Iran's foreign minister has said he will visit North Korea as both countries struggle under US sanctions.

Iran's official IRNA news agency on Sunday quoted Mohammad Javad Zarif as saying that the visit is being planned and a date will be announced soon.

The United States has ramped up sanctions on Iran since President Donald Trump withdrew from a landmark 2015 nuclear accord with world powers last year. The deal granted Iran relief from sanctions in return for limitations on its nuclear programme.

The US also tightened sanctions on North Korea to try to persuade it to give up its nuclear weapons.

In its latest move, the White House announced on Monday it would not renew sanctions waivers for countries that import Iranian oil - exposing the eight countries to US sanctions if they continue imports. 

The White House said that the Trump administration's decision was intended to "bring Iran's exports to zero, denying the regime its principal source of revenue".

Iran swiftly retaliated by declaring US troops "terrorists," a step up from its previous designation of US forces in the Middle East as terrorist.

The United States has branded Iran's Revolutionary Guards as a "foreign terrorist organisation" and added it to a blacklist - the first agency of a foreign government that have ever been designated a foreign terrorist organisation by the US. The designation, which took effect April 15, is part of a broader administration effort to increase pressure on Tehran.

Backed by Saudi Arabia and Israel, the unilaterally imposed sanctions aim to choke off Iranian revenue so as to reduce the clerical regime's regional clout, notably its support for militant group such as Lebanon's Hizballah.

An Iranian parliamentary delegation visited North Korea in December, and North Korea's top diplomat, Ri Yong Ho, visited Iran in August.

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