Biden pursuing Trump's failed policy, Zarif says

February 21, 2021 - 18:16

TEHRAN – Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said the new U.S. administration of Joe Biden is pursuing the same old failed policy of the Trump administration.

In a Sunday interview with Press TV’s Marzieh Hashemi, the chief Iranian diplomat said U.S. President Joe Biden has spurned predecessor Donald Trump’s Iran policy in words but has so far pursued the same course of action in practice.

“Nothing has changed. Biden claims that Trump's policy of maximum pressure was a maximum failure... But for all practical purposes, they are pursuing the same policy,” he pointed out.

Zarif said the Islamic Republic will be open to negotiations on reviving the historic 2015 nuclear accord – formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) - once all signatories begin fulfilling their obligations.

Underlining the need for the U.S. to take the first step by removing the unlawful bans in a verifiable manner, the foreign minister reiterated that Washington would not be able to return to the JCPOA unless it removed the sanctions.

“All the sanctions must be removed; the United States must gain reentry to JCPOA. It’s not automatic; it’s not a revolving door,” Zarif underlined.

He added that pressure does not work with Iran.

“The U.S. is addicted to sanctions, bullying, and pressure. But it doesn’t work for a country with millennia of history. We have had a global empire that lasted longer than the United States’ history,” Zarif said, adding, “Therefore, with Iran pressure does not work, and ‘maximum pressure,’ in their own words, has led to ‘maximum failure.”

The Americans, he said, have to “open their eyes, make a sober assessment of the past, not only with Trump, and realize that with this country only respect works.”

Zarif said that the United States has not gained any leverage against Iran through its unlawful sanctions, adding that on the contrary, the restrictive measures have only helped Iran diversify its economy away from oil.

“Trump left the [nuclear] agreement hoping that Iran’s government would crumble. Now, he’s gone, and we’re still here,” he said. “I think that’s a good lesson. Seven consecutive U.S. presidents are gone. Every one of them wanted to get us out. All of them are out. We’re still here.”

The top diplomat reminded that Paragraph 36 of the JCPOA enables Iran to take “remedial action” against failure by other sides to implement their obligations.

The Islamic Republic, he added, was not violating the agreement, it was simply implementing the remedial steps that it is entitled to in line with the pact.

He referred to a parliamentary law that obligates the Iranian government to take the latest step in its retaliation, namely the planned suspension of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)’s short-notice visits of the country’s nuclear program. The law, he said, was not a “warning to the world,” but a “domestic” interaction between the government and the legislative body that holds the government responsible.

Zarif dismissed any assertion on the part of the U.S. or its European allies in the JCPOA that “we signed a number of instructions” as per the international agreement.

“It’s not just singing, it’s the impact,” Zarif said, noting how the U.S. allies failed to implement even a single one of their obligations following Washington’s unilateral withdrawal from the agreement.

“European companies listen to Washington more than they listen to them (European governments). I believe they do have the ability to change the behavior of their companies,” he added, regretting the submissive nature of Europe’s behavior towards Washington.