Zarif likens Trump’s ‘disinfectant’ advice to nuclear deal argument

May 15, 2020 - 13:59

TEHRAN — Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has likened Washington’s JCPOA argument to U.S. President Donald Trump’s suggestion to inject disinfectant to treat coronavirus patients.

“Those who muse about injecting disinfectant to ‘clean’ the coronavirus, also argue that they are a ‘participant’ in a UN Security Council Resolution endorsing a deal that they long ago ‘ceased participating’ in,” Zarif tweeted on Thursday. “Their own words.”

“If only Kafka were around,” he added.

During a daily briefing last month, Trump hinted that “disinfectant” can be used to cure people infected with the coronavirus.

“I see the disinfectant that knocks it out in a minute, one minute. And is there a way we can do something like that by injection inside or almost a cleaning,” the president said.

Trump, appearing to refer to the disinfectant idea, continued to say, “You see it gets in the lungs and it does a tremendous number [on the] lungs, so it would be interesting to check that.”

“We’re going to have to use medical doctors, but it seems interesting to me.”

Last month, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Washington technically remained a “participant” in the deal in order to use a mechanism embedded within the accord to make the UN maintain an arms embargo on Tehran.

U.S. Special Representative for Iran Brian Hook also told reporters, “We are operating under the assumption that we will be able to renew the arms embargo.”

In similar remarks earlier on Thursday, Zarif said that making “foolish” claims by U.S. officials is nothing new.

Referring to Trump, Zarif said, “It is not unexpected of those advising people to drink or inject disinfectants to fight the coronavirus to come forward and say they are still a party to the agreement after officially leaving it.”

Observers say the United States would face a messy battle if it tries to trigger a return of sanctions, which includes the arms ban on Iran.

Hook wrote in the Wall Street Journal on Wednesday that “one way or another” Washington would ensure the arms embargo remains. He said the United States has drafted a Security Council resolution and “will press ahead with diplomacy and build support.”

A resolution needs nine yes votes and no vetoes by Russia, China, the United States, France or Britain to be adopted by the 15-member Security Council. Russia has already signaled it is opposed to extending the arms embargo.

“If American diplomacy is frustrated by a veto, however, the U.S. retains the right to renew the arms embargo by other means,” Hook wrote, citing the ability of a party to the Iran nuclear deal to trigger a so-called snapback of all UN sanctions on Iran, which includes the arms embargo.

Also, in comments targeting Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden, Hook said “nothing will be left of the JCPOA until you return to it.”

In response, Zarif said, “It is none of Brian Hook’s business to say ‘nothing will be left of the JCPOA’. What is important is between Iran and the JCPOA’s remaining parties”.

MH/PA

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