Zarif: Iran suffered billions in damages because Trump didn’t like Obama

September 22, 2020 - 17:47

TEHRAN — Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif says Iran has suffered billions of dollars in damages because U.S. President Donald Trump did not like his predecessor Barack Obama.

“Billions upon billions of dollars of damage they have inflicted upon Iran just because somebody didn’t like the previous president of the United States,” Zarif told Fareed Zakaria on Monday at a virtual event sponsored by the Council on Foreign Relations.

He was making a reference to Trump’s motivation to withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal, which many believe was due to his hatred toward Obama, under whom the deal was clinched.

Zarif said the U.S. should act responsibly with regard to the 2015 deal, known formally as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

“It is up to the United States to prove to the rest of the JCPOA participants, particularly to Iran, that it’s going to act responsibly, that it’s not going to make demands outside the scope of the JCPOA, and it’s going to basically stop causing damage to Iran, and compensate us for all the damages,” he said.

“Billions upon billions of dollars of damage they have inflicted upon Iran just because somebody didn’t like the previous president of the United States,” the chief Iranian diplomat lamented.

“It’s not my business that this president or the next president like their predecessor or don’t like their predecessor. It is the United States that has to act responsibly in the international community, which unfortunately it hasn’t,” he added.

Zarif further pointed to the damage caused by the U.S. sanctions on Iran, saying Iran is currently not able to buy vaccines for influenza because the United States does not allow us to transfer the money.

“Right now, as we speak, our order to buy vaccines for influenza—not for COVID, vaccines for influenza—is waiting for an authorization by the United States to pay our own money. Not to pay their money. We are not asking anybody for a donation,” he remarked.

‘We are not going to negotiate a deal’

Elsewhere in his remarks, Zarif said Iran is not going to negotiate a deal just because the U.S. didn’t get all it wanted from the deal.

“Now, we’re not going to negotiate a deal. A deal is give and take. A deal is that I don’t get all I want, the United States didn’t get all it wanted, the Europeans didn’t get all they wanted,” he stated.

Asked whether Iran was open to renegotiate some of the provisions that are starting to get sunset under the deal as long as the U.S. abides by the JCPOA, Zarif responded, “Absolutely not. Absolutely not.”

“Because those were parts of—part of the deal. The United States accepted those. We spent more time negotiating those limitations than anything else,” he said, adding, “Those were parts of the deal. I accepted less commitment from the United States because I did not want to give them more.”

Zarif also said it’s “none of our business” who gets elected in the November presidential election in the United States.

“For us, the behavior of the U.S. government is important. For us, it’s not important who sits in the White House. As a foreign government, we cannot bank on something we do not control,” the foreign minister maintained.

Zarif: Israeli normalization with UAE, Bahrain ‘just a photo op for Trump’

He also noted that the normalization of ties between Israel and two Arab countries, namely the UAE and Bahrain, was just an election show for the U.S. president.

“This was a show, for God’s sake,” he said. “We all know that the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain have had relations with Israel for the past fifteen years.”

“So let’s not joke with each other. This was—this was just a photo op for President Trump to get his vote up in certain states where he was in trouble,” he said.

Zarif added that the agreements did not serve any other purpose, so “let’s not put more meat into something that didn’t have much meat other than a photo.”


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