0559 GMT June 19, 2018
“In my opinion, the new US strategies against Iran, which were announced by the country’s secretary of state, will bring further isolation on the US,” Zarif said in a meeting with a number of Iranian lawmakers on Sunday, Press TV reported.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Monday that Washington would increase the financial pressure on Iran by imposing the “strongest sanctions in history” if Tehran refuses to change the course of its foreign and domestic policies.
Speaking weeks after the United States’ withdrawal from a nuclear agreement that Iran signed with major powers in 2015, he laid out 12 tough conditions for any “new deal” with Tehran. The conditions included withdrawal of Iran's military advisors from Syria, who have been helping the country's legitimate government in its fight against terrorist outfits, which have been mostly aided and abetted by the US and its Western and regional allies.
US President Donald Trump announced on May 8 that Washington was walking away from the nuclear agreement, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), which was reached between Iran and the five permanent members of the UN Security Council – the US, Britain, France, Russia and China – plus Germany.
Trump also said he would reinstate US nuclear sanctions on Iran and impose “the highest level” of economic bans on the Islamic Republic.
Elsewhere in his Sunday remarks, the Iranian foreign minister said Pompeo’s conditions “were not based on prudence.”
Zarif added that there has been an international consensus in support of the negotiations about Iran's nuclear program since the beginning of the talks, noting that only three Arab countries in the Persian Gulf and the Israeli regime currently oppose the JCPOA despite the US withdrawal.
“I believe that there is still an international consensus in support of it [the JCPOA] and that Trump has failed to change the conditions,” he pointed out.
Since the US president pulled Washington out of the historic nuclear deal, European countries have been scrambling to ensure that Iran gets enough economic benefits to persuade it to stay in the deal.
After the US withdrawal, five signatories to the JCPOA and Iran met in Vienna on May 25 at Iran’s request and emphasized the importance of working together to explore ways to save the accord.
Speaking after the meeting, Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi said that there was greater confidence about the survival of the nuclear deal.
“I think it was a good session because all the remaining members of the JCPOA announced their fully unanimous stance on continuing [to abide by] their commitments under the JCPOA,” the Iranian nuclear negotiator said.
Elsewhere in his remarks, Zarif said, “We trust our nation and this confidence gives us power to meet our country’s benefits in such difficult negotiations.”
He noted that all the negotiating parties intend to meet their own interests, adding that Europe stays in the JCPOA and supports it due to its benefits.
If Iran’s interests are met and necessary guarantees are given in this regard, the Islamic Republic will also stay in the JCPOA, the top Iranian diplomat said.
In a meeting with the European Commissioner for Energy and Climate Miguel Arias Cañete and his accompanying delegation in Tehran on May 20, the Iranian foreign minister said the European Union’s “political support” for the multilateral nuclear agreement was not enough, urging the bloc to take more practical steps to boost economic cooperation with Iran.
“The [European] Union must take more practical steps to continue its economic cooperation with Iran and boost its investment in Iran,” Zarif added.