Saudis must know they cannot buy security: Zarif

September 30, 2019 - 20:44

TEHRAN – Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has said that Saudis must know that they cannot buy security from the United States.

“I don’t think that militarism will bring security to the Persian Gulf region and I think it will exacerbate tension. Saudi Arabia must understand that it cannot buy security from the United States,” ISNA quoted him as saying in an interview with Al Mayadeen.

In an interview with CNN aired on September 24, Zarif said, “I do not believe that military capability alone can prevent disaster. That’s been what we have been trying to tell the Saudis. That they cannot buy security purchasing more war weapons.”

In an interview with Bloomberg in July, he said, “The problem in the region is not the 16 billion dollars that we spend on defense. It’s the 67 billion dollars that Saudi Arabia spends on buying weapons from the United States and the other Western countries, the 22 billion dollars the Emirates spends. The United States is selling 50 billion dollars to our region. That has to stop. That is making our region flammable.”

‘Any meeting with 5+1 leaders depends on the removal of sanctions’

Zarif also said that any meeting between Iran and leaders of the 5+1 group depends on the removal of sanctions.

The 5+1 group includes the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany.

“Our condition was that there would be no bilateral talks between [Iranian President Hassan] Rouhani and [U.S. President Donald] Trump and the meeting should be within the framework of 5+1 group on the condition of removal of sanctions. However, Trump did not even say that the sanctions will be removed after the meeting. He said first the meeting should be held and then there was the possibility of removing sanctions,” Zarif explained in reference to efforts by the French president to arrange a meeting between Rouhani and Trump on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly meeting in New York.

Zarif told reporters on Saturday that removal of sanctions was Iran’s condition for Rouhani’s talks with leaders of the 5+1 group.

“Our condition for Mr. Rouhani’s talks with heads of state of the 5+1 group, and not just between Mr. Rouhani and Mr. Trump, was the removal of sanctions,” he said.

Zarif added, “We have always announced that if the United States wants to hold talks with the Islamic Republic, it should return to its commitments and stop sanctions.” 

Iran has been insisting that the only path to negotiations between Tehran and Washington is that the United States lift all the sanctions that it has illegally and unilaterally imposed on the country.

In an interview with Fox News aired on Tuesday, Rouhani said if the U.S. administration is really seeking dialogue with Iran “it must create the needed conditions.”


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