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Iranian Foreign Minister plans North Korea visit

Iranian Foreign Minister Zarif Speaks to the Media P5+1 Talks With Iran in Geneva, Switzerland. November 24, 2013. (Eric Bridiers/U.S. Mission Geneva)

This article was originally published by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and is reprinted with permission.

Iranian state media says Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif is planning to visit North Korea.

“The date of this trip will be set and announced soon,” Iran’s official IRNA news agency on April 28 quoted Zarif as saying. The news agency gave no further details.

Washington has ramped up sanctions on Iran since U.S. President Donald Trump withdrew from its 2015 nuclear accord with world powers last year.

On April 21, the White House announced that it has decided not to renew exemptions from U.S. sanctions to buyers of Iranian oil, in an effort to cut Iran’s vital oil exports to zero.

The United States has tightened sanctions on North Korea to try to persuade it to give up its nuclear weapons.

A summit between Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un broke down in February without a deal, after cash-strapped Pyongyang demanded immediate relief from sanctions but the two sides disagreed over what the North was prepared to give up in return.

North Korea’s top diplomat Ri Yong Ho visited Iran in August and an Iranian parliamentary delegation visited North Korea in December.