News ID: 251865
Published: 0330 GMT April 24, 2019

Zarif urges US to try language of respect

Zarif urges US to try language of respect

Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif urged the US administration to try the language of respect, stressing, “We’re allergic to pressure.”

Zarif made the comments at an event, Asia Society, in New York on Wednesday, Reuters reported.

When asked if the US pressure campaign on Tehran was aimed at sparking further negotiations or regime change, Zarif said, “The B team wants regime change at the very least.”

He was referring to the highly hawkish politicians, besides Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman, the United Arab Emirates and Israel, namely US national security adviser John Bolton, Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

“We’re allergic to pressure,” he said, adding in a message to the Trump administration: “Try the language of respect, it won’t kill you, believe me.”

Zarif accused Washington of pursuing a "very dangerous" policy toward Tehran.

President Trump was wrong if he thought tough sanctions could get Iran to change its policy, he said.

"[Trump] thinks through further pressure on Iran, the so-called 'maximum pressure policy,' he can bring us to our knees. He's mistaken," Zarif said, accusing the US of "bullying."

Zarif also shot down the Trump administration's earlier proposals for "new" negotiations on Iran's nuclear program, saying the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) agreement was "the best deal that we could achieve."

The Iranian foreign minister also said Iran will continue to find buyers for its oil and use the Strait of Hormuz to transport it, warning that if the United States tries to stop Tehran, then it should “be prepared for the consequences.”

“We believe that Iran will continue to sell its oil. We will continue to find buyers for our oil and we will continue to use the Strait of Hormuz as a safe transit passage for the sale of our oil,” Zarif said.

The United States on Monday demanded buyers of Iranian oil stop purchases by May or face sanctions, ending six months of waivers which allowed Iran’s eight biggest buyers, most of them in Asia, to continue importing limited volumes.

Zarif also said that Iran had told the US administration six months ago that it was open to a prisoner swap deal, but had not yet received a response.

“All these people that are in prison inside the United States ... we believe their charges are phony. The United States believes the charges against these people in Iran are phony. Let’s not discuss that,” he said.

“Let’s have an exchange. I’m ready to do it and I have authority to do it,” Zarif said.

Tensions between Iran and the US escalated in May 2018, when Washington unilaterally withdrew from the Iran nuclear deal and reimposed several rounds of tough sanctions against Iran.











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