News ID: 238905
Published: 0343 GMT February 15, 2019

Zarif: Iran doesn’t trust Trump in any talks

Zarif:  Iran doesn’t trust Trump in any talks
NBC

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif dismissed the idea of renegotiating the landmark 2015 Iran nuclear deal that US President Donald Trump pulled out of it in May and snapped backed sanctions in Iran.

In a wide-ranging exclusive interview with NBC News on Friday, Zarif said Iran is not open to revisiting the deal which was aimed to put limits on the country's nuclear program in exchange for lifting the sanctions.

Zarif said Iran isn't interested in sitting down with Trump, saying: "Why should we negotiate? ... Why should we trust President Trump that he would abide by his own signature?"

Zarif said Iran spent years negotiating the nuclear agreement with the US and other world powers.

He said he saw no reason to do this because the original agreement was so complex and painstakingly negotiated.

"The nuclear deal was the result of 13 years of negotiations," he said. "We produced not the two-page document that President Trump signed with the chairman of North Korea but a 150-page document," he added, referring to Trump's accord with North Korea's Kim Jong-un last year that was widely criticized for being too brief and vague.

Zarif pointed to agreements the Trump administration has pulled out of, such as the Intermediate Nuclear Forces Treaty, the North American Free Trade Agreement and the Paris Climate Agreement.

"You name it, they've withdrawn from it," he said.

The Trump administration withdrawal from the agreement last year, put the US at odds with European leaders and independent watchdogs who say Iran is complying with its terms.

Zarif's comments came before an annual security conference in Munich that brings together more than 30 heads of state and government and 80 defense and foreign ministers.

Vice President Mike Pence, who will head the US delegation to the Munich conference, accused Britain, France and Germany on Thursday of trying to "break" American sanctions on Iran and called on them to withdraw from the nuclear deal with Tehran.

That could set the stage for frank exchanges in Munich. Zarif is attending the meeting, along with top-level diplomats from Russia and China — as well as senior officials from the three European nations that want to preserve the nuclear deal. Chancellor Angela Merkel is leading Germany's delegation to the conference.

 

‘Suicidal’ act

 

Elsewhere in the interview, Zarif warned the US and its allies that it would be "suicidal" to start a war with Iran, accusing Washington of having a "pathological obsession" with his country.

He said that the "same gang" behind the 2003 Iraq War are" at it again" in pushing for war with his country.

"I'm not saying President Trump's administration, I'm saying people in President Trump’s administration are trying to create the same eventuality and I believe they will fail," he said.

Still, he said he hoped "some sense will prevail" but warned that "people will find out that it's suicidal to engage in a war with Iran."

On Iran's missile program, Zarif confirmed that his country had suffered two failed attempts to launch satellites over the past two months. He said it was possible this was because of a sabotage campaign by the US as suggested by a New York Times report this week.

He said that Iran had already been investigating these failures but was now "looking into the specifics" because of the story in The Times.

"It's quite possible. We don't know yet," he said of a possible US sabotage campaign. "We need to look into it very carefully."

 AP contributed to this story.

 

   
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