Iran FM Zarif: Trump, Netanyahu, Bin Salman are 'isolated'

Zarif focused the brunt of his aggressive speech against Trump, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman, and Israeli Prime Minster Benjamin Netanyahu.

By REUTERS
August 6, 2018 15:57
2 minute read.
Mohammad Javad Zarif

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif . (photo credit: REUTERS)

 
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US President Donald Trump and his allies in the Middle East have become isolated by their hostile policies towards Tehran, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said on Monday, according to a report in Iran's semi-official Iranian Students news agency.

Zarif focused the brunt of his aggressive speech against Trump, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman, and Israeli Prime Minster Benjamin Netanyahu.

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"Today, Trump, Bin Salman and Netanyahu have become the symbols of mistrust in the world," Zarif was quoted as saying.

"Their oppressive policies and violent measures have made them isolated... The world has distanced itself from their hostile policies against Iran."

Zarif also attacked Netanyahu separately, decrying the Israeli leader's "slights of hand" and his "daily Twitter messages and crying crocodile tears." Zarif was referring to Netanyahu's multiple social media messages addressed to the Iranian population that the Israeli government has released over the past several months.

A first round of US sanctions against Iran, lifted under the 2015 international deal over its nuclear program, are due to be reinstated on Tuesday.

They will cover Iran’s purchases of dollars, its trade in gold and precious metals and its automotive sector.



In his speech, delivered to an event in honor of Iranian journalists held at the Foreign Ministry in Teheran, Zarif referred to Iranian's resilience under previous rounds of American and international sanctions.

"We have past experience with illegal and tyrannical American sanctions against Iran," Zarif said. "We were able to pass that time with our heads held high, until the six great powers of the world had no option but gathering around the negotiating table to deal with Iran."

Under the deal between Teheran and world powers, most international sanctions imposed on Iran were lifted in 2016 in return for Tehran curbing its nuclear program.

Saying the deal had failed to address Iran’s ballistic missile program, its nuclear activities beyond 2025 and its role in regional wars, Trump withdrew from it in May in a move that Israel - which Iran refuses to recognize - and Saudi Arabia welcomed.

Israel supports the imminent resumption of US sanctions.

Zarif also derided Trump's recent overture to the Islamic Republic.

"Who believes that Trump wants to negotiate with Iran? The Supreme Leader has said that since the nuclear negotiations reached a result and the JPOCA can be maintained, there is room for future negotiations," Zarif said.

Shi’ite Iran has also been at loggerheads for decades with Sunni Muslim Saudi Arabia, fighting a long-running proxy war in the Middle East and beyond that has influenced conflicts in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and Yemen.

"These three countries want to create psychological tension against Iran ... We will overcome this period of hardship," Zarif said.

Despite efforts by Russia, China and Europe to salvage the deal, the Trump administration is pushing countries to cut all imports of Iranian oil from November, when the United States reimposes sanctions Iran’s oil and shipping industries.

Fear of sanctions and economic hardship have led to sporadic protests in several cities in Iran in the past days, with ordinary Iranians chanting slogans against Iranian leaders.

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