Zarif says all must back President-elect Raisi, predicts JCPOA would be revived in Rouhani admin.

June 19, 2021 - 22:30

TEHRAN - Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif says every Iranian must support President-elect Ebrahim Raeisi and all administrative affairs must be in accordance with his decisions.

Speaking on the sidelines of Antalya Diplomacy Forum on Saturday, Zarif also described Raeisi as “a reasonable man” who can govern the country. 

When asked about the recent arguments in the presidential debates, Zarif considered these arguments as a sign of liveliness in political atmosphere of Iran, saying, "We are way ahead of most countries in the region in terms of having a lively political debate."

Zarif also predicted that the JCPOA – the official name for the 2015 nuclear deal – would most likely be revived during the remaining term of Hassan Rouhani's administration.

On the ongoing nuclear deal talks in Vienna, Zarif also said, "I have read the revised draft. It is getting purer and purer, brackets are to be removed." 

The foreign minister said Iran and the United States are somehow reaching a common understanding on the deal but they have not sill reached the “desired destination”. 

“U.S. cannot achieve what they couldn't accomplish in economic war against Iran on negotiations table. We are getting closer to a mutual understanding, but not reached desired destination," Zarif remarked. 

He also said the whole world now knows that Iran cannot return to the JCPOA without the approval of the parliament.

"We need to have approval from parliament before we resume implementation of JCPOA." 

On the possibility of returning to the deal, he simply said, "If there is a will, there is a way."

Zarif says does not trust Biden

Zarif went on to criticize the European Union for blindly following the path of the United States in imposing sanctions on Iran, saying, "Sanctions are not assets. Sanctions are a liability. Sanctions are illegal. Sanctions are unlawful. Europeans have been forced into succumbing to U.S. sanctions, but it doesn't mean that they approve it."

He then said he does not trust Joe Biden, or anyone, because "diplomacy does not mean you put your trust in somebody else, diplomacy is not love affair!"

On possibility of enriching uranium beyond 63%, Zarif simply said, "We may, or we may not, that is a decision we make without any limitation,” indirectly suggesting that the move highly depends on the U.S. decision to return to its JCPOA obligations or not. 

When asked Zarif about the Tehran-Riyadh talks, he said that Iran has had negotiations with the Saudis in Baghdad, but not in Russia. 

"We have had three rounds of talks with Saudi Arabia in Baghdad, our representation was inclusive. We had representatives from Supreme National Security Council, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Intelligence, and the military." 

He added that the main issue with Saudi Arabia is that they want to purchase security from outside, and they should know that "nobody can buy security from outside."

He then went on to elaborate about Iran’s position in the region, saying, "Our neighborhood doctrine is that we are bound to live together forever. We will remain in the neighborhood; others come and go."

"I am ready to send an ambassador to Saudi Arabia tomorrow. It depends on them. There is no reason that we should not be able to resolve our conflicts," the minister remarked. 

On the allegations that Iran is arming the Yemeni Houthis, Zarif laughed and said it is not Iran that has destroyed Yemen. He said, "Nobody has been able to conquer Yemen.

They don't need anybody's arms to defend themselves. Those bombing Yemeni schools, hospitals, markets, those are destroying Yemen, not Iran."

He then pointed to another issue of conflict between Iran and Saudi Arabia, saying that they have to understand they cannot impose their will, not through diplomacy or war. 

“Diplomacy is to understand how to get to yes,” he added. 

Zarif said that Iran has not even been able to send food and medicine to Yemen. 

“How can we send arms?” he asked.

“They know how to build their own arms,” Zarif said. 

When asked by the interviewer about Iran-Iraq relationship, Zarif said that many have mistaken Iran’s relationship with its friends with their own reasoning, but the bonds are more than money. 

"The relationship between Iran and its friends, is not the relationship of proxies. We are not like others who pay,” he said. 

Criticizing the arrogance of some regional countries, he said that the relationship of “master-slave” does not work in this region. 

“You need to establish relationships in this region based on mutual interests. We don't dictate to Hezbollah or Iraqis,” he added. 

When asked if Iran has any regrets helping Syria, Zarif said every crisis makes one think if he could go back and do something better, as there is always room for improvement, but "we are not at all unhappy about standing up with the people of Syria to defeat ISIS, as we stand with Afghans to defeat ISIS in Afghanistan."

The Antalya Diplomacy Forum is an event promoted by Turkey as the Turkish version of the World Economic Forum and the Munich Security Conference.


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