TEHRAN – Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif says the United States’ belligerent rhetoric on a multilateral deal with Iran has impacted other countries’ faith in potentially negotiating with Washington. In an interview with the Iranian Borna News, which was published on Sunday, Foreign Minister Zarif referred to the “very dangerous” tensions between the U.S. […]
TEHRAN – Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif says the United States’ belligerent rhetoric on a multilateral deal with Iran has impacted other countries’ faith in potentially negotiating with Washington.
In an interview with the Iranian Borna News, which was published on Sunday, Foreign Minister Zarif referred to the “very dangerous” tensions between the U.S. and North Korea and implied that Pyongyang was not interested in talking to Washington to defuse the tensions because of the U.S.’s past behavior.
Dialog was badly needed, he said however.
“The situation is very dangerous. I do not recall any time in my 40 years in politics when there was talk [of using nuclear weapons] in the international community,” he said.
Tensions have been running high between the U.S. and North Korea in recent months. Pyongyang has been swiftly advancing its missile and military nuclear programs, which Washington perceives as a threat to itself and its allies in East Asia.
Zarif said a solution had to be reached peacefully, and threats and pressure had to be avoided.
He said that the U.S., however, suffered from a reputation problem and negotiating with it was not viewed as a favorable option.
“Some of the rhetoric that the U.S. has adopted about the JCPOA since Mr. Trump took office has cast doubt about the U.S.’s reputation as a [credible] negotiating partner,” the Iranian foreign minister said, referring to the Iran deal by its official abbreviation.
“Other countries, too, feel that this administration is not trustworthy. The U.S.’s own allies in Europe say that, too,” he said.
Zarif added that the proliferation of nuclear weapons had to stop and all such weapons in the world had to be destroyed.
Zarif has said before that the Trump administration has violated the text of the deal by attempting to discourage Iran’s European partners from doing business with Iran.
He said while Iran tried to maintain the agreement as it was, Tehran had the option of withdrawal.
He said another option was to “create conditions in which America’s withdrawal from or non-performance of the JCPOA would lead to the U.S.’s isolation.”
Elsewhere in his remarks, the Iranian foreign minister referred to the crisis in Myanmar, where the government is carrying out a deadly crackdown on minority Rohingya Muslims.
“The situation is outrageous in Myanmar,” he said. “The international community has once again failed to uphold the rights of the oppressed and the people who face torture, pressure, and even genocide.”
He said Iran had engaged in diplomacy to facilitate a peaceful end to the plight of the Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar but stressed that the Islamic Republic did not seek to pressure the Myanmarese government.
“All we seek is find a solution to improve the situation,” he said.
Zarif was also asked about Saudi Arabia, which has severed its diplomatic relations with Iran. He said Riyadh had to reach a better understanding of the region before an enhancement of relations with Iran could take place.
“We hope the Saudi government reaches a real understanding of the situation in the region and the policies it has adopted in Syria, Iraq, Bahrain, and especially Yemen, where we face a humanitarian situation,” he said.
The Saudi government has had nothing to gain from those activities, he added.
Once Saudi Arabia gets a real understanding of the situation in the region, “it will see that Iran is prepared for positive interaction,” Zarif said.
Asked about recent remarks by Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir, who described earlier comments by Zarif as “laughable,” the Iranian foreign minister declined to comment.
“I usually don’t respond to remarks that are not based on reason and rationality,” he said.