Iranian Foreign Minister Zarif turned down White House meeting - report

Last month, while tensions between Iran and the U.S. began to build, Zarif was invited to sit down with President Trump in the Oval Office, new reports say.

August 4, 2019 03:13
1 minute read.
Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif attends India-Iran business forum in New Delhi, India,

Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif attends India-Iran business forum in New Delhi, India, January 8, 2019.. (photo credit: REUTERS/ANUSHREE FADNAVIS)

Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif was invited to a meeting with US President Donald Trump last month but he turned down the invitation, according to a report. 

The New Yorker said that before the US placed sanctions on Iran, Sen. Rand Paul tried to set up a meeting between Zarif and Trump in Washington. 

Paul tried to set up the meeting in July, when he met with Zarif, who was in New York for a UN meeting. 

Zarif and Paul discussed current events in the Gulf – including Iran’s involvement in sabotaging British oil tankers, the shooting down of an American drone and the nuclear deal. Zarif also laid out Iran’s conditions for a new deal.

Paul told Zarif to talk to the president himself, but he responded that it wasn’t his call to make. 

The White House declined to comment on this report. 

Zarif on Saturday said Iran will take another step to reduce its compliance with the nuclear deal, without elaborating, according to parliamentary news agency ICANA.

Iran has repeatedly said it will reduce its commitment to the nuclear accord in stages and may even withdrew from the pact altogether unless the remaining signatories find ways to shield its economy from US sanctions. Washington pulled out of the deal last year.

“The third step in reducing commitments to [the nuclear deal] will be implemented in the current situation,” he said.

“We have said that if [the deal] is not completely implemented by others then we will also implement it in the same incomplete manner. And of course all of our actions have been within the framework of [the deal].”

Last month, Iran threatened to restart deactivated centrifuges and ramp up enrichment of uranium to 20% purity in a move away from the nuclear deal.
Iranian officials have said that all of Tehran’s moves in reducing its commitments to the nuclear deal are reversible as long as the remaining signatories uphold their commitments.

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