Senior official raps Washington for Iran flip-flop

November 4, 2017

TEHRAN – Deputy Foreign Minister Hossein Jaberi Ansari on Friday denounced U.S. government’s frequent self-contradictions in its Iran policy.

Speaking to the Tehran Times, Jaberi Ansari said U.S. leaders have been contradicting themselves for decades when trying to take an approach towards the Islamic Republic. 

The remarks came days after Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Qassemi said President Rouhani rebuffed a request from President Trump to meet at the United Nations in New York in September, just a day after Trump’s speech at the UN General Assembly, during which he lashed out at Iran, saying Tehran must be forced to “end its pursuit of death and destruction”.

In his UN speech the next day, Rouhani denounced the “ignorant” rhetoric of “rogue newcomers to the world of politics,” in an apparent reference to Trump.

“A request indeed was made by the U.S. side but it wasn’t accepted by President Rouhani,” Qassemi said.

On Thursday, the Washington Post reported that the U.S. had asked France to broker Trump-Rouhani discussion, but the Iranian president said no.

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson conveyed the request to French President Emmanuel Macron, according to several administration and foreign officials.

Before Tillerson’s request, Trump already had discussed the issue with Macron, a top official said, according to the Washington Post.

“You guys have good relations” with Iran, Trump told Macron, according to the official. “Could you use your relations” to ask if Tehran is willing, should “the Americans want to talk?” the official said Trump asked.

Jaberi Ansari said such requests, coming right after a strong condemnation of Iran, showed that U.S. leaders are still making “repeated mistakes” regarding Iran.

“Iran will continue its path towards independence and liberty and will never pay attention to empty talks by Trump and his like,” Jaberi Ansari told the Tehran Times.

He also said “the carrot and stick approach will never work on the Islamic Republic”, adding that Washington needs to change its approach toward the Iranian nation and government.

The official also pointed to the CIA-backed coup d'état that led to the overthrow of the democratically elected government of Prime Minister Mohammad Mosaddegh in 1953, saying such era, during which Washington could impose its will on the Iranian nation, is long gone.

Jaberi Ansari called on the U.S. and other countries to respect Iranian people’s quest for independence and liberty.

“The policies of the United States of America towards the Islamic Republic and the Iranian nation have continued, both in previous decades and now in Trump’s era, in a path filled with consecutive mistakes,” he noted.

During Obama’s tenure, he said, Iran tested Washington’s sincerity on its so-called “policy change” towards the Islamic Republic.

The official pointed to the 2015 nuclear agreement that Iran signed with six world powers including the U.S., France, Britain, Russia, China and Germany, saying the deal, also known as the JCPOA, was a test to check U.S. government’s honesty and whether it could compensate for its past mistakes.

Last month, Trump decertified Iran’s compliance with the JCPOA, ordering lawmakers to come up with a proposal to rewrite the pact and impose new sanctions on Iran, threatening otherwise to “terminate” U.S. participation.

Jaberi Ansari said since the final months of Obama’s presidency, Iran has been facing numerous obstacles in reaping the benefits of the JCPOA.

When Trump became president, he said, the U.S. government went back to square one, repeating its empty rhetoric toward Tehran.

In response to the Trump administration’s hostile tone on Iran, President Rouhani has ruled out any negotiations with Washington, saying it is “absurd” to hold talks with a country that violates previous agreements.

“Because of the behavior it has adopted, America should forget any future talks and agreement with other countries,” Rouhani said on October 29, while speaking at the parliament.

MH/PA