NEW YORK, Jul. 18 (Press Shia Agency) – Iran’s FM Zarif in an interview with the National Interest said if it comes to a major violation of nuclear deal by Washington, Tehran has other options available, including withdrawing from the deal.
Editor of the National Interest, Jacob Heilbrunn, spoke with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif in an interview in New York on July 17, 2017. The following is an expert from the interview:
In regard to his response to the Trump administration in the face of Washington’s violation of the spirit—if not the letter—of the Iran nuclear accords, Zarif said “we’ve taken a route that has been prescribed within the nuclear deal, taken it to the joint commission, and we will discuss that in the joint commission to make sure that the shortcomings by the United States are remedied. This has been the subject of an ongoing debate within the joint commission, not only during the Trump administration but also during the previous Obama administration, when it took the United States, for instance, several months to clear the purchase of airplanes.”
He went on to add, “It took the US longer to clear the purchase of Airbus airplanes than it took for the purchase of Boeing airplanes. But nevertheless for Airbus it took about nine months and for Boeing it took about four months. Which in our view was too long, so we took the issue to the joint commission. And some parts of it were remedied, some parts of it were not, and this is the avenue that is open to us now.”
“If it comes to a major violation, or what in the terms of the nuclear deal is called significant nonperformance, then Iran has other options available, including withdrawing from the deal,” he stressed.
“Certainly Iran started an understanding, not just with the United States, but with the P5+1, endorsed by the Security Council, and at this stage we are content with simply implementing that agreement… But in order for that to serve as a solid foundation, we want to make sure that the obligations by all sides have been fully and faithfully implemented. And if we get that, then we have an opening to further progress,” Zarif said.
About Iraq’s situation, he said “It’s a situation where the initial US invasion of Iraq has led everybody to lose.”
“If we have greater influence in Iraq than some of our neighbors or some external countries, it’s because we made the right choices,” Zarif said, while referring to Iran’s support to Iraq in the fight against ISIL.
About the future of Iranian influence in Syria, Zarif said “we have had a consistent policy of fighting extremism and terrorism whether it was in Afghanistan during the reign of the Taliban, or, even during the time that the United States was in occupation of Iraq. The same applies to Syria.”
Zarif went on stress that not all countries follow the example of Iran on this: “ You have countries in the region who have consistently supported extremists. The people who recognized the Taliban regime in Afghanistan are the same as the ones who are imposing pressure on Qatar, the same as the ones who are having difficulty with Iran, both in Syria and Iraq and in the region generally.”
“But we are not about excluding them. This is not our aim. We do not believe that our region will be secure if we exclude Saudi Arabia,” Zarif said, adding “We believe that Saudi Arabia is an important part of that security, as we believe that other countries in the region should be an important part of that security understanding.”
About the future of Iran-US relations, he said “it all depends on the approach that the United States will try… It has to set aside the assumption that it can create turmoil in the region and draw financial benefits from it.”
“we have a very sober understanding of the situation in the region where we are located, and we hope that the United States can also have such a sober understanding,” said Zarif.