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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Zarif: Drone US claims to have shot down not Iranian

IRNA - Islamic Republic News Agency

Tehran, July 21, IRNA – Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad-Javad Zarif told the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) News Hour that the drone the United States claims to have shot down does not belong to Iran.

"To the best of our information, we didn't lose any drones (on Friday); it doesn't look like that they shot one of OUR drones," Zarif told the US news channel in an interview on Saturday.

Zarif believed the US may have shot their own or someone else's drone.

Answering a question about the claim of the US President Donald Trump that Iran's moves in the region are provocative and hostile, he said, "Iran is in the region, but the US is 6,000 miles away from their lands. Who is being provocative?"

He went on stress that "nothing is inevitable", he said, "Human beings, if prudence prevails, can prevent war because in any military confrontation, everybody loses."

Iranian leaders and diplomats are trying their best to avoid wars, he said.

He also noted that "Iran didn't go to the Gulf of Mexico; the US came to the Persian Gulf."

"They have to watch that they should not undermine our sovereignty, our territorial integrity, or our security, and then we won't have a war."

About the US maximum pressure sanctions on Iran, Zarif quoted President Trump saying publicly that he is engaged in "an economic war" with Iran.

Trying to define what an economic war is, he said that unlike military wars that targets military personnel with a possibility of a few collateral damages from among the civilians, economic war targets ordinary men and women. They will be trouble trying to provide their cancer medicines, MS medicines, and EB medicines for their children, and that's why "economic terrorism" is a better term for that.

In answer to a question about Iranian uranium enrichment, he said that Tehran is not deviating from the course defined in the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) signed with the permanent UN Security Council members, including the US government, plus Germany.

Zarif said that there was an election in the US in 2016, "not a revolution", so the new government of the US "inherits" the previous ones' obligations.

Trump has claimed that whatever he would do, he would ratify in the Congress as well. If he is serious about going to the Senate and the House of Representatives to ratify something, there is a provision in the JCPOA, "In 2023, we are supposed to ratify the additional protocol which requires us to put all our facilities under UN inspection for life," Zarif said.

"So there is no room for Trump's concern about the sunset article and length of the deal," said Zarif.

"It also requires the United States to lift its sanctions by Congress permanently. That is a provision previously-negotiated.

"[If Trump] wants to do better, he can implement the provision right now and rest assured that Iran will never produce nuclear weapons."

Zarif also said that Trump does not do that because he believes "What's mine is mine, and what's yours in negotiable," which won't work.

The Iranian Foreign Minister further expressed confidence that President Trump doesn't want to leave a legacy of a treaty-breaking country, but a law-abiding one.

Iran is ready to bring the agreement forward and take the bill to Majlis (Iranian Parliament) provided that the US does the same thing, he said.

"President Trump could make history by making sure that the relations between the two countries would change forever."

Pointing to his contacts and meetings with US senators, he said that he meets with the congressmen "not as the emissary of the government, but as the representatives of people."

He said he talked to the think tanks and congressmen about how to get out of the stalemate.

Zarif arrived in New York last Sunday to take part at Economic and Social Council of the United Nations (ECOSOC).

The council's annual high-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF) started on July 9 and ended on 18. There were ministerial meetings on the last three days.

The HLPF is the chief global forum for reviewing successes, challenges and lessons learned, on the road towards reaching the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030.

This year, the annual meeting was held under the theme "Empowering people and ensuring inclusiveness and equality".

Zarif used the opportunity to raise the issue of unilateral US sanctions that go against the sustainable development document.


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