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Zarif: US needs to stop ‘economic war’ before any talks
International Desk

Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said the United States needs to abide by the 2015 nuclear agreement with Iran and stop its “economic war” as the prerequisite for talks.

"America has started an economic war against our people...this should stop. I mean the politics of bullying, imposed politics and the policy of economic terrorism against the Iranian people, and when these policies stop, the atmosphere will change completely," Zarif said in an interview with Arabic-speaking Iranian TV Al-Alam on Friday. 

The top diplomat noted that Iran needs no mediator for negotiations with the US.

“The government of the United States has targeted the Iranian people, all our partners must know this reality, and they must know how to resolve this crisis,” Zarif said, adding that “the solution to the crisis will not be through the tense atmosphere of America or the emergence of a fabricated war environment. Let us forget the main theme."

Zarif, however, added, “Holding negotiations only makes sense when the other side is committed to its obligations.”

Zarif stressed that the US “policy of bullying” is doomed to failure, saying threats against Iran will not work.

"The economic war, if anything, shows the imposed policy and the policy of bullying, and this policy will not find its way to success with Iran at all. I said it personally at one time, never think of threatening any Iranian, and I still say this. Threats should not be used against any people or any nation. We as Iranians say that this policy will not work for us.

"What is important to us is to put an end to the threat of language and action against Iran, be it economic or military."

He said the policy of the administration of US President Donald Trump is a “pretense for talks and readiness for negotiations.”

Trump pulled out the US from the multilateral nuclear deal between Iran and world powers last year and ratcheted up sanctions in a bid to shut down Iran’s economy by ending its oil exports and disconnecting its banks from global financial systems. Under the deal, Iran curbed its nuclear program in return for sanctions relief.

Asked when and under what circumstances the Islamic Republic would “contact Trump, or answer his call,” Zarif said, “Deciding on this matter is up to the country’s highest-ranking authorities.”

Zarif also said that the US “will never get a better deal than the JCPOA on Iran’s nuclear program.”

Trump said on Monday that “Iran would like to make a deal, and I think that’s very smart of them, and I think that’s a possibility to happen.”

Also on Thursday, Trump reiterated that America is prepared for negotiations with Iran if the Islamic Republic is ready for talks.

“I even want to get along with Iran and Iran wants to talk. And if they want to talk, I am available,” Trump told reporters during an impromptu news conference in the White House.

On Wednesday, President Hassan Rouhani asserted that should Washington cancel its sanctions on Tehran, the road toward negotiations between the two sides will be paved.

“Whenever they lift the unjust sanctions and fulfill their commitments and return to the negotiating table, which they themselves left, the road is not closed,” Rouhani said.

Tensions have risen between Iran and the United States since Washington deployed military resources including a carrier strike group and bombers and announced plans to deploy 1,500 troops to the Middle East, prompting fears of a conflict.

Iran has called the deployment "very dangerous and a threat to international peace and security."

AP contributed to this story.

 

 

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