EghtesadOnline: Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif said the United States is trying to "bring Iran to its knees" and overthrow its government by seeking to thwart its international oil trade.
In an interview with Fox News broadcast on Sunday, Zarif said a "B team" of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, US National Security Adviser John Bolton and leaders in Saudi Arabia and the UAE is trying to push US President Donald Trump "into a confrontation he doesn't want".
"They have tried to bring the US into a war," Zarif said, with the goal, "at least," of Iranian regime change.
Bolton, appearing on the same Fox News program, claimed the US goal is not regime change, but a change in behavior, specifically an end to Iran's nuclear program and ballistic missile testing, Financial Tribune reported.
"The Iranian people deserve a better government," Bolton contended.
He called Zarif's accusations "an effort to sow disinformation".
The United States recently declared Iran's Islamic Revolution Guards Corps a terrorist organization and said on Thursday it would end waivers of sanctions for all countries buying Iranian crude oil, including China, India, Japan, Turkey and South Korea, which had continued to buy from Tehran since last year when new US sanctions against Iran were imposed.
The United States says it wants to deprive Iran of $50 billion in annual oil revenues to pressure it to end its nuclear and missile programs. The White House says it is working with top oil exporters Saudi Arabia and the UAE to ensure an adequate world oil supply.
But it is uncertain how effective the US end of waivers to the sanctions on countries trading with Iran will prove to be. Turkey and China have attacked the US action, but it is not clear whether they will continue to buy Iranian oil.
Zarif said the goal of the sanctions is to "put as much pressure on the Iranian people as possible so they will take action" against the Iranian government.
Noting that US officials are wrong and delusional, the foreign minister said the fact that Trump withdrew the United States from the 2015 international agreement to curtail Iran's nuclear program "would not put the US in the good list of law-abiding nations".
He also told Iranian reporters in New York that Tehran's withdrawal from the pact is one of "many options" it is considering in the wake of the US ending sanctions waivers for countries buying oil from Iran.
Zarif said the US withdrawal from the nuclear pact shows the Iranian people that "engagement does not have dividends. They should not trust the signature of the president of the United States", referring to former president, Barack Obama, whose endorsement of the international pact was overturned by Trump.