Zarif says Iran not an easy prey for adventurers 

February 20, 2017

TEHRAN – The Iranian foreign minister said on Monday that his country is not an “easy target” for those who have an eye for it thanks to the country’s capabilities. 

He made the remarks in an interview with the BBC's Chief International Correspondent, Lyse Doucet. 

Here is a transcript of the interview.

I certainly hope that prudence will prevail, because Iran is not an easy target. We’re not going to provoke anybody; we’re never going to instigate any hostility. We’ve never started a hostility and we’re not planning to do one. But we will defend ourselves. I do not believe that people looking at our history, people looking at our capabilities will ever make the decision to engage in that misadventure. 

Q: Iran test-fired a ballistic missile; the U.S. imposed new sanctions and in president Trump’s words ‘put Iran on notice’. Are you worried about an escalation?

A: Well, missiles are our defensive means. We are not seeking to provoke anybody.

Q: Is it unwise perhaps, in current context to engage in that kind of act? Illegal or not?

A: We’re a sovereign state. For our defense and for being ready to defend ourselves. You see, if you were in Iran for 8 years, where everybody in the international system, including the U.S., do you remember the tilt towards Iraq.

Q: You’re talking about the 1980’s.

A: I’m talking about the 1980’s. Our people do not forget the fact that they were being bombarded. Everybody was providing assistance to the aggressor and no one, absolutely no one, gave us even the rudimentary means of defense. 

Q: The Saudis and the Americans and the Israelis are now talking about options on the table, consequences, if you don’t do certain things?

A: Well, first of all we’re not talking about the law of the jungle, we’re talking about international law. And according to international law, those options are a violation of international law, and I advise them not only to respect international law, but to be prudent enough not to get themselves in serious trouble. 

Q: But the directory is changing, because no longer is the U.S. the country that you concluded a historic nuclear deal with, under the last administration’s John Kerry, you’re now talking about the U.S. officials who are putting you on notice. 

A: Well, I believe that the previous administration reached a nuclear deal with Iran because it didn’t have any choice. It tried, the hushes, the crippling sanctions; that existed. Those sanctions produced the exact opposite political outcome. They put economic pressure on Iran, but the Iranian people resisted, the Iranian people stood up against those pressures. 

We would advise everybody that the nuclear agreement is a reasonable agreement. It’s not everything that they wanted, nor was it everything that we wanted. But it’s a reasonable middle ground and I believe that if the previous administration had other options, they would have exercised them. 

So it’s not like we’re moving from very friendly relations into a hostile relations. U.S. policy towards Iran has never been friendly for the past 38 years. It’s always been hostile and our people have shown that hostility doesn’t receive a positive response from the Iranian people.


AK/PA 

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