0425 GMT November 19, 2019
Iran’s foreign minister brushed aside new pressure from the United States on Sunday, declaring that his country is “unmoved by threats,” but responds well to respect.
“Iran doesn’t respond well to threats,” Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif told the Munich Security Conference, an annual gathering of top diplomats and defense officials.
“We don’t respond well to coercion. We don’t respond well to sanctions, but we respond very well to mutual respect. We respond very well to arrangements to reach mutually acceptable scenarios,” AP reported.
“Everybody tested us for many years — all threats and coercions were imposed on us,” Zarif added.
President Donald Trump has repeatedly criticized the 2015 nuclear agreement between Iran, the US and five other world powers, but hasn’t said what he plans to do about it.
His administration said Iran was “on notice” over a recent ballistic missile test, and imposed new sanctions on 25 Iranian companies and individuals.
Zarif mocked “the concept of crippling sanctions,” which he said merely ended with Iran having acquired thousands more centrifuges, used for enriching uranium.
Work with “brothers in Islam”
Last week Iranian President Hassan Rouhani traveled to Oman and Kuwait to try to improve ties, his first visit to the Persian Gulf Arab states since taking power in 2013, Reuters reported.
“On regional dialogue, I’m modest and I’m focusing on the Persian Gulf. We have enough problems in this region so we want to start a dialogue with countries we call brothers in Islam.”
His comments were in response to a question on whether Tehran would also consider a region-wide dialogue that included Israel.
“We need to address common problems and perceptions that have given rise to anxieties and the level of violence in the region.”
Earlier in his speech, Zarif had criticized four-decades of well-financed “Takfiri” ideology.
The Iranian top diplomat also told the Munich Security Conference that the use of chemical weapons can never be condoned.
“Unfortunately, the terrorist organizations Nusra and Daesh still possess chemical weapons,” Zarif said.