Zarif: Pressure on Iran ‘will never work’

August 24, 2019

TEHRAN – Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has said that the United States pressure to push Iran to the negotiating table will never work and added that Iranians never negotiate under duress.

“It will never work. Iranians never negotiate under duress. Intimidation is not acceptable. We will continue to rely on our own people in order to move forward and I’m sure we will,” he told France 24 in an interview aired on Friday.

Iranians respond well to respect, but never to threats and intimidation, the chief diplomat noted.

“We are engaged in a war. It’s an economic war that the United States has imposed on Iran.” He added, “We are engaged in a war. It’s an economic war that the United States has imposed on Iran. I believe the U.S. should be pressured by the rest of the international community to abandon its policy of pressure and intimidation. It won’t work.”

He said that Iran has a fundamental principle which is never to negotiate with terrorists.

“If he United States stops economic terrorism against Iran, it can come back to the negotiating table that it left. The negotiating table is still there. Six of the seven negotiating partners sit there very three months. If the United States wants to come back, it has to stop violating what it had committed to and come back to the negotiating table,” he suggested.

Zarif also said, “The United States has a lot that has been negotiated that it is violating. So, it has to start first with what is has agreed upon.”

‘We have made progress relying on our own people’

Zarif also said that Iran has made progress and has prospered, relying on the people.

“We have dealt with the U.S. aggression and the U.S. economic terrorism for the past 40 years, and we will live with it. We have prospered. We have made progress. We passed eight years of foreign aggression against our country, relying on our own people. We have made progress relying on our own people. Don’t forget that missiles that shot down the U.S. sophisticated drone was Iranian made. We had S-300, we could have used S-300, but we used Iranian missile system to show that while we have friends, we do not rely on anybody for our defense,” remarked the top diplomat.

‘The U.S. has made our region an arms depot’

Zarif also said the United States has turned the Persian Gulf region into an arms depot and it has to stop.

“The United States has made our region an arms depot. The United States every year sells over 50 billion dollars of weapons to the Persian Gulf region alone. It has to stop. We only spend 16 billion dollars on defense. Saudi Arabia spends 87 billion dollars on purchasing weapons. The United Arab Emirates spends 22 billion dollars on purchasing weapons. So, before anybody can talk about Iran, they have to bring down their own military sales to the region, they have to bring down the military purchases by the countries in the region, they have to stop bombing Yemen, and they have to stop providing weapons. The U.S. weapons is going to Al-Qaeda. The U.S. weapons is going to ISIS and these have to stop,” he said.

‘We will continue to sell our oil’

Zarif also said that the U.S. is not God and Iran will continue to sell its oil.

“The U.S. is not God. We will continue to sell our oil. They have a lot of lawless power. When you went to high school, you had bullies in high school and the way to deal with bullies was not to succumb to them. (Solution) was to resist them. If you succumb to a bully, it will go to the next person and the next person and the next person. We will never succumb to bully and we advise others not to succumb to these bullying acts by the United States. We will continue to sell our oil. The United States will try to prevent it, but it will continue.”

Commenting on where is the Iranian tanker Adryan Darya 1, he said, “It is somewhere in the Mediterranean because the United States is harassing freedom of navigation and that is what needs to stop. Because Adryan Darya is not violating anybody’s rules, it is a ship based on the international law with Iranian flag carrying Iranian oil and it is none of the United States business where it is going and how it is transferring its oil; our oil is not embargoed, there is no international embargo against our oil nor against our customers. So, we will continue to sell our oil however we want to sell it.”

‘It is Iran which maintains security in region’

Zarif also said that Iran does not need to block the Strait of Hormuz, and no matter how many foreign ships come to the region, it is Iran which maintain security.

“We do not need to block it. We maintain security in the Persian Gulf and the Strait of Hormuz and the Sea of Oman. We have 500 hundred miles of coastline with the Persian Gulf. We have 500 hundred miles of coastline with the Sea of Oman. We control the northern lanes of the Strait of Hormuz. So, we maintain security. If we do not have an interest in maintaining security in this body of water, how many ships come from outside would only further exacerbate insecurity. They cannot provide security. We are the strongest power in that region and we are responsible for security, but security has to be for everybody. We are prepared to provide security for everybody. I spoke with President Macron about how we can guarantee freedom of navigation everywhere. In the strait of Gibraltar, in Suez Canal, in other places and in the Strait of Hormuz. Freedom of navigation is a global commodity. It is not a commodity which can be used by others and not by certain others,” he said.

Commenting on the U.S.-led coalition in the region, Zarif said, “International coalition to do what? To reverse what the United States has done?”

“Freedom of navigation is a global responsibility and the United States is committing piracy, in Gibraltar, with the help of some of its friends elsewhere.”
He added, “The United States has exacerbated tension in the Persian Gulf and elsewhere. Freedom of navigation is a global responsibility and the United States is committing piracy, in Gibraltar, with the help of some of its friends elsewhere. If the Unites States stopped its disturbances, its acts of aggression, its acts of interferences as well, then Iran and the rest of the countries in the Persian Gulf and those who are benefiting or need Persian Gulf, because President Trump has clearly said that the U.S. does not need Persian Gulf; those of us who need Persian Gulf can work together in order to preserve its security. Only the United “If it (the Trump administration) stops bothering the rest of the world, everything will be fine.”
States needs to stop bothering. It does not need a coalition. If it stops bothering the rest of the world, everything will be fine.”

‘Europe’s future is in multilateralism and rule of law’

Zarif also said that it is better for Europe to counter the U.S. illegitimate demands because the continent’s future lies in multilateralism and the rule of law.

“What is important for our European partners to recognize is if they are willing to submit to the wishes of an outside power who is not asking them to observe international law but punishing them for observing international law, is asking them to violate international law. Europe’s future is in multilateralism and the rule of law. That’s where Europe has its strong hand. If Europe allows that United States to break that then Europe is destroying the foundations for the global system and for the future of the international relations and I do not think that Europe wants to do that,” he explained.

‘JCPOA is a comprehensive deal negotiated with open eyes’

Zarif also said that the nuclear deal was prepared based on mutual mistrust and there are mechanisms in it when one party violates the deal and noted that Iran does not need to leave nuclear deal.

“The JCPOA is a comprehensive deal on the nuclear issue which was negotiated with open eyes. We knew that we could not trust each other. It was basically actually based on mutual mistrust. So, what we did was we put in place mechanisms that we could use if they violate. If we use those mechanisms, we do not need to leave the agreement we have shown strategic patience. That strategic patience may have been required in order to give Europeans time to implement their part of the deal after the U.S. withdrawal. Unfortunately, Europe was not able over the past 15 months to do that so we took certain measures and those measures as I said are reversible. If Europe begins taking the steps that it is required to take,” he maintained.

On Iran’s act in reducing nuclear commitments, he said, “Iran has the right in JCPOA to take certain measures. We informed our European partners as well as two other members of the JCPOA Russia and China that we will be taking certain measures. Those measures are reversible within few hours not even days provided that Europe decides to take the measures that it is supposed to take legally in order for the Iranian people to receive the economic benefits of the JCPOA.”

Asked about his meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron on Friday, Zarif said, “We are making progress but we still need to move forward and President Macron still needs to talk to his European partners and others.”

He added, “President Macron and President Rouhani have been engaged in telephone conversations in the past several weeks with the intention of trying to find ways that Europe in spite of the U.S. sanctions and in spite of the U.S. maximum pressure policy could implement its own obligations under the nuclear deal. There has been discussions and suggestions that’s going back and forth and today we continued those discussions. We are moving in the right direction of finding how Europe can implement its own obligations under the agreement so that Iran which has suspended implementing some of its obligations under the paragraph 36 of the agreement to go back to full implementation.”

Zarif says sanctioning him was a mistake Washington made

The chief diplomat went to say that Washington made a mistake by sanctioning him.

“I have no property outside of Iran, so they cannot harm me personally. But if they try to shut my mouth and shut my participation in providing greater information to my counter partners and to the rest of the global community, they are badly mistaken,” he remarked.

On being invited to the White House, he said, “I refused because that message was coupled with a threat that if I don’t go I will be designated. And I did not go and I was designated. I’m doing my job and I think designation does not prevent me from doing my job.”

NA/PA

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