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Iranian FM slams Trump administration's "withdrawal doctrine"

IRNA - Islamic Republic News Agency

Tehran, Oct 20, IRNA -- Iran Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif censured the US administration's walkaway from the 2015 nuclear deal, saying that the deal is not a bilateral one between Iran and US but an agreement signed by six major world powers and ratified by the United Nations.

He made the remarks in an exclusive interview with CBS News correspondent Elizabeth Palmer in Tehran, the only interview given to an American broadcast network after Trump's refusal to certify Iran's compliance with the deal, officially known as Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

Zarif underlined that five other countries besides the US had signed the Iranian nuclear deal, and no matter what the White House said or did, all five will remain firmly committed to it.

This is not a bilateral treaty between Iran and the United States. So whatever domestic politicking he wants to do, that's his business, Iran's top diplomat said, recalling that the United States is a permanent member of the Security Council. And if it's not going to uphold a resolution, that not only it voted for but it sponsored, then the credibility of the institution that the United States considers to be very important would be at stake.

Lambasting Trump for decertifying Iran's adherence to JCPOA, he said that nobody else will trust any US administration to engage in any long-term negotiation because the length of any commitment, the duration of any commitment from now on with any US administration would be the reminder of the term of that president.

Asked whether you are thinking of any country in particular right now, he said no, I'm thinking of the entire international community.

Responding to CBS correspondent's question "Not North Korea?", he said Well, including North Korea. But I believe (?) the entire international community.

You see, this administration is withdrawing from everything. Somebody called it withdrawal doctrine for this administration. It's withdrawing from NAFTA. It's withdrawing from Trans Pacific Partnership. It's withdrawing from UNESCO. It's withdrawing from everything, he said, contending that people cannot trust anymore the word of the United States. You see, in order to bring United States on board on many of these international agreements, a lot of people make a lot of concessions.

Now nobody is going to make any concessions to the United States because they know that the next US president will come back and say, 'It wasn't enough, we're not satisfied,' he said.

Asked if Trump eventually pulls the US out of the agreement unilaterally, will you stay in with the Europeans, Russia, and China and make it work with them alone, Zarif said that if one party withdraws from deal, particularly the United States, and starts in fact violating the most important elements of the deal, then Iran will decide whether–(?)

In response to the question, "So, you're not going to commit now to staying in if US pulls out?", Zarif said, "We have committed ourselves not to be the first party to withdraw from this deal."

When Palmer wondered by saying, "But that's it", Zarif said provided that our economic dividends that have been enshrined in this deal are respected and Iran continues to receive those dividends. Once Iran does not receive those dividends, then it would be a totally different situation.

Iran's foreign minister also categorically denied that Secretary Rex Tillerson called around late in the day yesterday (Friday ?) to give various allies and world leaders a head up about what was to come.

Citing Iran's partnership with United States and other countries in this nuclear deal now that implies a huge amount of diplomatic engagement, Palmer asked why doesn't that give you the privilege to talk to the secretary of state directly, But Zarif said, "Well, I think that is a decision the United States has made."

Asked but you did it with John Kerry, Iranian minister said, "We certainly did, and it produced a lot of results. It produced a lot of positive results. It averted some rather nasty scenarios. But this administration has decided to play in a totally different manner. And I can assure you that Iranian dignity and pride will not allow us to engage when mutual respect and equal footing are not respected by one party."

Zarif also denied that Supreme Leader had been against the deal from the beginning.

As to Palmer's statement He (Leader) has never trusted the United States, Zarif said, "None of us ever trusted the United States. This deal was not based on trust. It was based on mutual mistrust. And I think that was the strength of this deal. It's not something bad about the deal. It's the strength of the deal, but unfortunately, the way President Trump is handling it, it's widening the mistrust, not only between Iran and the United States, but between the global community and the United States where the US is no longer not just unpredictable but unreliable."

In response to the question "Have you given up for the moment on trying to establish better relations with the Trump administration to try and dial back the rhetoric?", Zarif said, "Well, I believe Trump administration is closing its eyes on the realities of our region. And it's getting into a quagmire that would harm US national interests and would harm, because of the significance of the United States as a global player, will harm our region. We believe it would be important for the United States and for the Trump administration to exercise a reset in its cognitive disorder with regard to our region."


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