Trump administration ruined opportunity for future talks: Iran's Larijani

August 23, 2019

TEHRAN – In an interview with the NBC’s Lester Holt in Tehran aired on Tuesday, Iranian Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani said that the administration of Donald Trump ruined opportunity for future talks between Tehran and Washington.

“During the previous administration of Barack Obama [former U.S. president], he offered talks to Iran and Iran accepted it. Because our initial impression was the fact that Mr. Obama was following some principles in his policies. He was our enemy, but he was the wise enemy. It is easier to interact with a wise enemy,” he said.

He said that Trump’s withdrawal from the international agreements is tarnishing the impression of the people across the world. 

“That creates the impression that the United States is not trustworthy and this does not serve them good,” he noted.

‘It was not mistake to sign nuclear deal’

Larijani also said that it was not a mistake to sign the 2015 nuclear deal, known as the JCPOA.

“From my viewpoint it was not a mistake to sign the nuclear deal. We discussed the issue with the major powers in the world and reached a conclusion. It could have served as the basis to discuss more important issues in the future including sustainable security in the region, but the fact is that they ruined this. I have to note that there were very serious critics in Iran, but overall Iran accepted the deal but what they did changed the calculations very much,” stated the philosopher-turned politician.

Commenting on effects of sanctions against Iran, he said, “There is no doubt that the sanctions have had impacts. There are problems in our economic system that need to be tackled.”

He added, “We should not have been relying that much on oil. With the sanctions we are accelerating the process (of reducing reliance on oil). Now, with the problems increasing we are increasingly focusing on internal economic capacities to create more grounds for production. When our imports are cut down, we have no other choice but to increase production.”

‘We don’t care what will happen in 2020’

Larijani also said that Iran does not care what will happen in the U.S. presidential elections in 2020.

“We have the same path and we don’t care what will happen in 2020. We have long term strategies and policies that we follow,” the top legislator remarked.

‘U.S. conduct has strengthened solidarity among Iranians’

Larijani says Iranian people consider video messages of U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo as “jokes” 
Larijani also said that the Iranian people considers video messages of U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo as “jokes” 

He went on to say that the U.S. conduct has strengthened solidarity among Iranians.

‘Iran has never sought military conflict’

Larijani also said he does not think the U.S. commit the mistake of military confrontation with Iran, adding Iran has never been seeking military conflict.

“I think a brief glimpse of the U.S. recent history will lead us to the conclusion that they will not commit such a mistake of military confrontation. Even at the time when Saddam was provoked by the U.S. to attack Iran, Iran did not seek any conflict. During the past 400 years, we have had no single case of aggression against any other country. Military conflict is not strategy of Iran. However, in case of any aggression, we are serious and adamant in defending ourselves,” he stated.

‘It is the Palestinians who should decide for their future’

Larijani also said it is the Palestinians who should decide for their future.

“Our wish is for the Palestinian people to return to their original land. The proposal was for all the Palestinian people including Muslims, Christians and Jews to participate in a free referendum and to decide for their own future. Our stance is that the decision by the people of Palestine should be followed by everyone,” he said.

NA/PA

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