Tue, 18 Feb 2020

Iran interested in talks with US: Javad Zarif

ANI
16 Jan 2020, 01:37 GMT+10

New Delhi [India], Jan 15 (ANI): Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif on Wednesday said his country is "not interested" in negotiating with the US for a solution to end the crisis in the Middle East region and chided Washington's "unprovoked" drone strikes in Iraq, which killed Iranian senior commander Qassem Soleimani earlier this month.

"Iran is interested in diplomacy. We are not interested in negotiating with the US. US did not keep its commitments under nuclear deal. We had a US deal and US broke it. If we have a Trump deal, how long will it last?" Zarif said while participating in a panel discussion at Raisina Dialogue here.

Soleimani, the head of Iran's Revolutionary Guards' elite Quds Force, was killed in a US drone strike ordered by President Donald Trump at Baghdad International Airport on January 3.

His death has marked a dramatic escalation in tension between the US and Iran, that has often been at a fever pitch since Trump, in 2018, chose to unilaterally withdraw Washington from the 2015 nuclear pact the world powers had struck with Tehran.

Countries including the UK and India have urged Iran to pursue urgent de-escalation.

Zarif regretted the shooting down of a Ukrainian jet near Tehran airport which killed all 176 people onboard and said it was a "mistake" which happened due to spiralling "tensions" in the region.

"Nine million people were out in the streets of Iran commemorating Soleimani. You cannot bring out so many people to protest. The shooting down of a plane was a mistake. 180 families are mourning the loss of their dear ones. It happened because of tension," Zarif said.

Continuing his tirade against the US, he further said, "US is now negotiating with Taliban. To do what? To get out of Afghanistan. What has US brought to Iraq? Stability? In Afghanistan and Iraq, it is their choice. But why to use Iraq to mount an attack on an official guest of Iraq? It (Soleimani's strike) was an unprovoked attack.""We now need a new coalition against Daesh (Arabic name of the ISIS). We knew where Daesh was standing. We now know where US is standing," Zarif added.

The Iranian diplomat described the Iran nuclear deal as one of the "best multilateral agreements" and blamed both the US and European Union (EU) for failing to keep their commitments to respect the agreement, which was aimed at limiting Tehran's nuclear activities and allow international inspectors in return for the lifting of economic sanctions.

"The future of the nuclear deal depends on Europe. The JCPOA (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action) was one of the best deals... one of the best multilateral agreements. None of the 11 commitments given to Iran were fulfilled. Not only US but also EU failed to keep those commitments," Zarif said.

"EU is in violation of JCPOA commitments independent of American violations. You (EU countries) are independent countries. Why do you let US bully you? So we triggered the dispute resolution mechanism. Nothing happened. They did not even respond," he added.

Zarif made it clear that if Europe backed away from the deal, Iran would "reverse" from its committments.

"We have said that once Europe reverses, we will reverse too. We have lost hundreds of billions of dollars. If they pay us those hundreds of billions, we will reverse our decisions," he said.

Earlier this month, Tehran announced that it was abandoning its last obligation under the 2015 nuclear deal which is to limit the number to centrifuges. (ANI)

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