SNSC chief says Iran should never have signed the JCPOA

Shamkhani: U.S. sanctions intended to make Iran surrender not to negotiate

August 20, 2019

TEHRAN - Ali Shamkhani, the secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council, has said that the U.S. sanctions pressure against Iran are not for negotiation but intended to make Tehran surrender.

“The sanctions campaign is not for negotiation, it's for making us surrender,” he said in an interview with NBC News published on Tuesday.

He added, “As long as this approach is taken by the United States, Iran will never ever seek negotiations.”

“We had a case of successful negotiations with the JCPOA [the 2015 nuclear deal]. How come the United States departed from it?” he said.

He also said that Iran should never have signed the JCPOA.

He said that there were people in Iran who felt that signing the JCPOA was a mistake.

Asked if he was one of those people, Shamkhani said, “Yes. … I’m just following the viewpoints of my nation, the people of Iran.”

Donald Trump withdrew the U.S. from the UN-endorsed JCPOA in May 2018 and imposed the toughest ever sanctions against Iran in line with his administration’s “maximum pressure” policy against Tehran.

Shamkhani noted the Trump administration’s “maximum pressure” campaign against Iran would not bring Iran to heel or bring it back to the nuclear negotiating table.

He warned the U.S. to “act with wisdom”.

Shamkhani said the Iranian public has long dealt with international sanctions and proof of the failure of Trump administration policy was obvious in the mood on the street.

“Just walk the streets of Tehran and see how energetic our people are and you will realize that [what the U.S. has] been trying to achieve has not materialized,” he said.

He noted that Iran is not basing its decisions on U.S. policy on who is president, or on the possibility that Trump will not serve a second term. But he said that he thinks Trump’s “maximum pressure” campaign is failing because the U.S. public and Western allies are “questioning” his leadership.

Elsewhere, he denied claims that Iran is seeking nuclear weapons, saying they are forbidden under Islam and have not provided security to those who have them, like Israel.

‘Palestinian people would decide Israel’s fate’

Shamkhani also denied that he had a “military wish” for Israel’s destruction, saying the Palestinian people would decide Israel’s fate.

“I believe that the one that is seeking the destruction of Israel is the country that does not see the realities on the ground,” he said, taking a swipe at the Trump team’s Israel policies and Trump adviser Jared Kushner’s Middle East peace initiative. 

On Trump’s recent decision not to attack Iran after the downing of a U.S. drone, said Shamkhani, was driven by a “calculation of cost and benefits.”

Shamkhani warns the U.S. and its regional allies would be in “a terrible situation” in the event of war against Iran.
Both the U.S. and its regional allies would be in “a terrible situation” in the event of war, Shamkhani said.

“There is no doubt that the already tarnished image of the United States will be even further destroyed in the region and the whole world. Why do they basically threaten to launch a war against us?” he said.

The Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) shot down a highly-sophisticated U.S. stealth drone in June after it violated Iran’s airspace over the Persian Gulf.

Trump reportedly gave initial approval for the U.S. military to launch strikes on Iran in retaliation, however, he cancelled the strikes.

NA/PA

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