TEHRAN (Press Shia Agency) – Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif dismissed the possibility of negotiations with the “bully” US, saying Washington is in no position to impose preconditions on Tehran.
Iran is not interested in negotiating with the United States after it pulled out of a 2015 nuclear deal and reinstated economic sanctions on Tehran, Zarif told reports in Tokyo on Thursday.
“No, there is no possibility for negotiations,” Kyodo quoted Zarif as saying when asked whether he would be open to holding bilateral talks aimed at easing tensions, including discussions of a proposed prisoner swap.
The top Iranian diplomat had announced in April that he was willing to exchange Iranian prisoners held on “phony” charges in the US, Germany and Australia with foreign prisoners in Iran.
But Zarif made it clear in Tokyo that such a deal was no longer on the table because the US had set unspecified preconditions.
“(The US) is not in a position to impose preconditions on Iran,” he emphasized.
Zarif also slammed the US as a “bully” for pressuring other countries, including Japan, to adhere to its economic sanctions including a ban on buying Iranian oil.
“This is the first time in history that a bully is telling everybody else, important countries, that ‘I’m going to punish you if you observe something that I do not like,’” Zarif added.
“Let us assume that a bully is standing in a cross section on the street and telling everybody, ‘If you don’t pass the red light, I’m going to beat you.’ This is exactly what the US is telling them,” Zarif said, adding, “This is economic terrorism, pure and simple.”
Zarif further criticized the European parties to the nuclear deal and Japan for going along with the US sanctions despite publicly supporting the nuclear deal, formally called the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).
“I have to stress that it is important for all other members of the JCPOA to take serious account of their continued failure because Europe unfortunately, while supporting JCPOA verbally, has not been able to take any action. Unfortunately, our Japanese partners also have not taken action to implement JCPOA,” he deplored.
Zarif said that after leaving Tokyo, he is scheduled to travel to Beijing to meet with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi on Friday.