Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad-Javad Zarif made the remarks in an interview with American website Al-Monitor on Sunday, MNA reported.
In response to a question about Iran’s reactions if the United States withdraws from the nuclear deal known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), Zarif said, “The Trump administration was never in the JCPOA. They made sure over the last 15 months that Iran would not benefit from the economic dividends of the JCPOA, and so whatever they do in three weeks would not be a major break from the past. And the economic impact on Iran has been eased, basically, by the policies that they have pursued over the past 15 months. So that would give us the necessary justification to make a decision based on our own national interest whether to stay or not. If we decide to leave, it would be fully justified by the JCPOA itself in the view of the international community. It will further isolate the United States as a party that is not reliable — not just not predictable, but not reliable — the international community would recognize that Iran could not unilaterally and without the other side implement the deal. So I believe that would even reduce the negative economic implications for Iran.”
He went on to say “at the same time, because of what we have been able to do within the JCPOA on research and development, we can resume the nuclear program in a much more advanced way, still for peaceful purposes, but in a much more advanced way. So that's one of the options that is open to Iran and probably the most serious one.”
Regarding French and German leaders’ trips to the United States to talk to US president on the JCPOA, Zarif added, “I think that's a misguided policy. They should use the opportunity of meeting with President Trump to encourage him to live up to the United States’ commitments under the JCPOA rather than trying to appease him because by trying to appease him, he will take further steps in the wrong direction. I think if they have their own interests in mind and the European interest in mind, they should use the possibility to encourage him, not just to stay in the deal, but to implement his part of the bargain in good faith.”
Regarding Iran’s military presence in Syria Iranian foreign minister said “we sent our advisers to Syria in order to be able to prevent the fall of Damascus into the hands of terrorists. We did exactly the same in Baghdad, and we did exactly the same in Erbil, where the similarities that they're making about the illusions of a Shia Muslim whatever wouldn't apply in Erbil. But since Erbil is inconvenient for them, they just tend to neglect that reality and they cite alternative realities, alternative facts that support their mentality and analysis.”
Zarif added, “So we’re there in order to do something that is important for the international community, and that is to prevent extremists from winning, and whenever that's not necessary, we don't have any territorial ambitions on any country. The fact that Iran has not raised its flag in any place where we have our military advisers indicates to you that we don't have any territorial ambitions.”
With regard to the situation in Yemen and Saudi-led war on the war-torn country, the Iranian foreign minister said that the United States and Saudis have not been able to bring the Yemenis to their knees through their heavy bombardment and arms.
At the end of the interview and in response to a question about Iran’s relations with the Kurdistan Regional Government of Iraq, Zarif said, “We have very good relations with the KRG, and we encourage both sides — both Baghdad and Erbil — to engage more closely. We have offered our good offices for them to engage more closely, and we are happy to see some progress there. I don't think we can see any tangible results of these negotiations before the elections. So we hope that after the elections, they will resume those discussions and will resolve the differences, and wherever we can be of any assistance, we will be at their disposal.”
Zarif arrived in New York on Thursday for a six-day visit to attend the UN Meeting on Peace-building and Sustaining Peace on April 24-25.