By staff and agency

Zarif does not think Iran-U.S. military war is imminent

May 3, 2019 - 19:34

Iranian Foreign Ministry Mohammad Javad Zarif has said that he does not think war between Iran and the United States is imminent.

However, he told Independent in an interview published on Thursday, that “accidents can happen” that then spiral into a military conflict.

He gave the example of the Persian Gulf and the Strait of Hormuz, a strategic waterway where most of the world’s oil exporters pass through, when he was asked about these “accidents”.

Zarif also mentioned the January 2016 incident in the Persian Gulf when two U.S. Navy boats entered Iranian waters and were captured by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps. Back then, Javad Zarif and his American counterpart John Kerry had a direct line of communication following their two years of nuclear negotiations. That direct line let the two top diplomats control the situation, secure the quick release of American sailors, and prevent a potential escalation. But today there is no such line of communication between the Iranian foreign minister and his U.S. counterpart.

Zarif implied that he wants to reach out directly to the American public and warn them of the possibility of another war in the Middle East.

Commenting on his interview with Fox News, he said he wanted to reach out to Trump’s base in mainstream America “because it is important to speak to the other side sometimes”.

He added that this was not his first interview with Fox and that he had talked to the channel years ago when he was Iran’s ambassador at the United Nations in New York.

Zarif told IRNA the interview was in line with establishing connection with a layer of the U.S. society which supports Donald Trump’s administration.

“It should have been noted that the U.S. interests are being ignored for interests of Israel and a war mongering group. This reality is not something new, but the atmosphere have been poisoned by propaganda to the extent that many people who believe this reality do not dare to say it. So, it was necessary to say such reality [in Fox News] to make an influence on atmosphere created by suppressing news,” the chief diplomat noted.

Zarif told Fox News on Sunday that the “B-team”, that includes U.S. national security advisor John Bolton and number of regional leaders including of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Saudi Crown Prince Mahammad Bin Salman (MBS) and Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed, are trying to inflame U.S.-Iranian tensions and push Trump “into a confrontation he doesn’t want.”

In a tweet on Tuesday, Zarif said, “Today the world’s catching on to Amb. John Bolton’s chronic warmongering.”

Zarif said “Iranians didn’t need to read a 10,000-word New Yorker profile to be convinced” that Bolton is pushing for a war with them.

With a reference to Bolton’s speech to a gathering of Mujahedin Khalq Organization (MKO or MEK) in Paris in 2016, Zarif said, “We’ve seen him shill for a cult terror group, and—along with his B_Team accomplices—target Iranians with Economic Terrorism.”

MKO, a notorious cult group which professes an eccentric variant of Islam, was on the U.S. terrorist list until September 2012. 

In a report on its website on April 29, the New Yorker said, “In Bolton’s financial disclosure, he listed a forty-thousand-dollar payment, for a speech that he gave, in 2016, to Mujahideen-e-Khalq, an Iranian exile group dedicated to overthrowing the government in Tehran.”

In its report, headlined “John Bolton on the Warpath”, the New Yorker said during his speech, Bolton told the crowd, “I just say again what I have been saying for ten years that I’ve been coming to this rally: the regime in Tehran needs to be overthrown at the earliest opportunity!”

Also on February 11, Bolton released a video on Twitter, in which he said, “I don’t think you’ll have many more anniversaries to enjoy.”

Iranians celebrated the 40th anniversary of their revolution on February 11.