US "Terrorizing" Iranians for Political Gains
EghtesadOnline: The United States aims to strike fear in the hearts of Iranians to advance its political agenda, Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said, while adding that the current deadlock between Tehran and Washington could be resolved through implementation of the nuclear deal.
In a recent interview with BBC, the chief diplomat said the US administration, which desires a change in the political system in Tehran, is using the tool of sanctions for political purposes.
"Economic war targets civilians. Military war targets military personnel [and] civilians are sometimes the collateral damage," he said. "The US is terrorizing Iranian people in order to achieve political objectives. That's the classical definition of terrorism."
Zarif said some patients are losing their lives in Iran because there is a "limited" range of pharmaceuticals that cannot be produced in the country and cannot be imported, despite the so-called exemption of humanitarian items from sanctions, Financial Tribune reported.
"The US says they are exempt from sanctions, but financial transactions to purchase them are not exempt."
Asked what a potential face-saving solution out of the current impasse between Iran and the United States would look like, he said, "We don't need to have a deadlock. We do not want to embarrass anybody … All we want is what we negotiated be implemented and then we can go even further. I believe our region has enough real problems. We do not want imaginary problems."
He also noted that all the parties involved in nuclear negotiations with Iran would acknowledge that "it is impossible to get a better deal" than the 2015 agreement, which US President Donald Trump abandoned last year.
Zarif added that it was Washington who left the negotiation table and should come back to it, not Iran.
On why Tehran is not ready to change its stance, he said, "If you allow a bully to bully you into accepting one thing, you'll encourage him to bully you into accepting other things."
The foreign minister said he believes that Trump does not seek a military conflict but added that the US president is "being advised by people who are not interested in promoting peace, but are interested in advancing an agenda that they have had."
"I accept that President Trump doesn't want war. But I know that there are people in his administration who are crazy for war, who thirst for war."
Zarif warned about the fallout of any military confrontation in the region between Iran and the US, saying, "If there is a war, then I do not think anybody will be safe in our region. But let us all try to avoid a war. We do not need a war."
When asked about statements by Europe that no partial compliance with the nuclear accord is accepted, the senior diplomat said Iran's recent decisions to reduce its compliance with the deal are based on the mechanisms stipulated in the agreement itself.
On the Europeans' efforts to save the deal, he said they made very nice statements, but statements do not provide economic benefits for Iran.
"It is important to basically invest in what the Europeans believe is a security document for them," Zarif added.
He said the Europeans have accepted US predominance in the global economy even to their "own detriment" while the Europeans and the rest of the global community are strong enough to resist US "unlawful" and "illegal" demands, if they want to do so.
Zarif called Britain's seizure of an Iranian oil tanker an act of "piracy", reiterating that the ship was not destined to Syria.
The Grace 1 tanker was recently seized by British Royal Marines off the coast of the British Mediterranean territory of Gibraltar on suspicion of violating sanctions against Syria.
"It's piracy plain and simple," he said, adding that the issue is not related to EU sanctions against Syria and is only about US oil sanctions against Iran.
The Iranian foreign minister said Britain is helping the US impose its "illegal" oil sanctions against Iran through such a move.
"If the UK wants to serve US interests, it should not be talking about trying to preserve the JCPOA," he said, using the abbreviation for the nuclear deal's formal name, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.
Zarif noted that the Islamic Republic will continue to find ways to circumvent US sanctions and will stand its ground. "We will continue to sell our oil, but we will not sell our dignity."