Zarif’s diplomatic skill prompted U.S. to sanction him: expert

August 14, 2019

TEHRAN - Vladimir Batyuk, a senior fellow with the Moscow-based Institute of the USA and Canada, has said that Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif’s skills and abilities at diplomacy have made the United States sanction him.

In an interview with IRNA published on Wednesday, he described Zarif as one the most remarkable foreign minister.

He added that Zarif has been able to defend Iran’s rights at the international arena.

In separate statements on July 31, the U.S. Treasury and State Department announced imposition of sanctions against Zarif, a move which was interpreted as a total rejection of diplomacy repeatedly claimed by the Trump administration. The decision followed after Zarif, while in New York for a UN meeting, rejected an invitation to meet Donald Trump at the Oval Office.

The move has been criticized by the world.

President Rouhani described the U.S. move against his foreign minister as a “childish behavior”.

In a televised address, Rouhani said, “They were claiming ever day ‘we want to talk, with no preconditions’ ... and then they sanction the foreign minister.”

He also said the U.S. is “afraid” of Zarif.

Majid Takht Ravanchi, Iran’s permanent representative to the United Nations, wrote a letter to UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres on August 6 protesting the U.S. sanctions on Zarif, saying that this move signifies a “gross violation” of the UN Charter.

Ugochi Daniels, the United Nations Human Settlements Program Coordinator and Resident envoy to Iran, has said that Zarif is “champion of multilateralism”.

“In my encounters with Zarif, he has, on multiple occasions, emphasized the importance of multilateralism; he is a champion of multilateralism,” IRNA quoted her as saying in an interview published on Saturday.

In an article published by LobeLog on August 1, Robert E. Hunter, a former U.S. ambassador to NATO, said Washington’s act in imposing sanctions on Zarif will undermine U.S. diplomatic credibility.

“In the first place, it is most unusual to place the chief negotiator for an unfriendly (or even enemy) nation on the “unwelcome” list. It is a direct violation of accepted diplomatic practice, going all the way back to the Greeks a few thousand years ago, as well as of Article 31 of the 1961 Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, which governs the way in which countries agree to treat foreign diplomats,” Hunter stated.

Iran’s Foreign Ministry issued a statement on August 1, saying that imposition of sanctions on Zarif indicates the “U.S. government’s frustration”.

“The U.S. new sanctions reveals this government’s weakness and fear of the Islamic Republic of Iran’s wise and logical diplomacy,” the statement read.

It added, “Imposing sanctions on the foreign minister will have no effect on the Foreign Ministry’s efforts and actions and also the foreign minister, as responsible for the country’s foreign policy, in upholding the Iranian people’s righteousness, defending the national interests and countering economic terrorism.”

Also in a tweet on August 1, Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi said the U.S. is extremely fearful of Zarif’s “logic” and “art of negotiation”.

Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araghchi has said that Zarif is “the powerful language of Iran’s diplomacy and powerful representative of Iran in the international arena”.

Dianne Feinstein, a California Democratic senator, criticized the move, saying it was a “mistake” to sanction Zarif and described him as a “capable” diplomat.

“President Trump says he pulled out of the Iran nuclear agreement to force Iran back to the negotiating table, but this move limits the opportunity to do exactly that,” she said.

France said on August 1 that along with its partners the UK and Germany it was concerned by the U.S. decision to apply sanctions on Zarif.

The French Foreign Ministry said, “We think that all diplomatic channels should stay open, especially at this moment of increased tensions.”

Deputy Permanent Representative of Russia to the United Nations Dmitry Polyanskiy slammed the U.S. move, arguing that the measure will block the way for any dialogue.

Polyanskiy said the sanctions go against diplomacy, stressing that Moscow is against any type of bans, as they do not help find a solution.

At a news conference on August 1, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova also condemned the move.

“The U.S. has only one tool – sanctions. This tool does not work. This tool has not approved itself. This tool has discredited both itself and those who apply it,” she remarked.

NA/PA

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