Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif is to appear before parliament following controversy over a promenade with his American counterpart during intense nuclear negotiations in Geneva, state media reported on Sunday. Zarif, who leads Tehran's talks with "P5+1" - the United States, Britain, France, Germany, Russia and China - had a 15-minute walk down Geneva sidewalks with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry during discussions on Jan. 14 aimed at reaching a settlement of the 12-year nuclear dispute between Iran and the West. On Friday, conservative-leaning prayer leaders heaped scorn on Zarif and President Hassan Rouhani for the "diplomatic slip-up" and newspapers said 21 members of parliament had signed a petition to call in the moderate minister to provide an explanation. "Given the Great Satan's endless demands and sabotage during the course of the nuclear negotiations, there is no conceivable ground for intimacy between the foreign ministers of Iran and America," said the petition published in hard-line Fars News.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Sunday branded the murder of a Japanese hostage by Islamic State militants as "outrageous and unforgivable" and demanded the immediate release of a second captive, amid a tide of global revulsion. The apparent beheading of self-employed security contractor Haruna Yukawa was announced in a video generally agreed to be credible, and appeared to mark a grave turn of events in a crisis that has gripped Japan for nearly a week. "I condemn it strongly and resolutely," he said, calling for the immediate freeing of Yukawa's fellow captive, freelance journalist Kenji Goto. In a city outside Tokyo, Shoichi Yukawa told of the horror he had felt when he learnt that threats to kill his son had been carried out.