0747 GMT October 21, 2019
Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif reiterated Thursday that Tehran would not start discussions with the US administration under President Donald Trump before full sanctions relief.
In an interview with CNN, Zarif maintained that “we are witnessing a state of confusion in America’s foreign policy toward the Islamic Republic of Iran. A new deal with them under the current circumstances seems unlikely.”
The US under Trump pulled out of the deal, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), in May 2018. He has since imposed more than 1,000 individual sanctions on Tehran, which culminated with an oil embargo this May.
"(The JCPOA) is an agreement that we reached with the United States. Why should we renegotiate? Why should we start something else which may again be invalid in a year and a half," said Zarif.
Iran’s top diplomat noted, however, that sanctions relief could change Tehran's calculations, opening the possibility for talks.
"If they lift the sanctions that they re-imposed illegally, then that's a different situation," added Zarif. "Then we would consider (talks)."
Although US sanctions have pressured the Iranian economy, the country has managed to stay afloat. "They've done whatever they could and they haven't been able to bring us to our knees," he pointed out.
Meanwhile, Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi said in Thursday remarks to Iran’s Al-Alam TV that the country was still confident of its diplomatic capabilities to achieve solutions to current problems.
“We negotiated with the Americans for two years and it was the Americans who left the negotiating table,” Mousavi said, referring to Washington’s withdrawal from the 2015 multilateral nuclear deal reached between Iran and major world powers.
Elsewhere in his remarks, the spokesman touched on recent attacks on Saudi Arabia's oil facilities, calling on those accusing Iran to provide “real not fake evidence” of Tehran’s involvement in the attacks. Mousavi said the US and Saudi Arabia need to believe that Yemen’s Houthi Ansarullah movement, which has withstood a four-year war by the Saudis and their allies, took credit for the attack and has offered evidence to substantiate it.
“The Yemenis have themselves declared that they were responsible for the attack, providing [related] evidence,” he said.
“But they (the US, allies) accuse Iran because they don’t believe that the oppressed Yemeni nation has achieved such capabilities with empty hands [as] they are under the most severe attacks and bombardments,” the official went on to say.
Mousavi further noted, “When they suffer a blow, it seems the first and easiest move for both the Americans and other counties is to lay blame on Iran, which is totally unfounded.”
Pointing to Iran’s efforts to help end the Yemeni crisis, the official also said Iran has asked Yemen’s Ansarullah to attend various political meetings meant to resolve the crisis in the war-ravaged nation.
Yemen’s armed forces conducted a large-scale operation against Saudi Arabia’s Aramco oil installations on Saturday, in their latest response to the Saudi-led war on their country.
Yemen’s Houthi Ansarullah movement immediately took credit for the attack, but US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo swiftly accused Iran of being behind the assault, without providing any evidence. Tehran categorically rejected the allegations.