Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif took to Twitter early Sunday morning to slam Donald Trump shortly after the US president tweeted in Farsi that Washington will not remove sanctions on Tehran in exchange for Iran’s readiness to negotiate, apparently referring to FM’s alleged willingness to do so, while citing Fox News and One America News alongside his post.
Zarif minced no words when savaging the US president for his apparent incompetence and advised Trump to ground his foreign policy decisions and remarks “on facts, rather than Fox News headlines or his Farsi translators”, while citing an extract from his earlier interview with Der Spiegel, from which Zarif’s purported remark was allegedly taken by American media outlets.
.@realdonaldtrump is better advised to base his foreign policy comments & decisions on facts, rather than @FoxNews headlines or his Farsi translators— Javad Zarif (@JZarif) January 26, 2020
To be better informed, he can read my entire interview (in English) https://t.co/eZR8NzuWXV
Too many words? Then just read this: pic.twitter.com/URkbUll49P
In the interview, the Iranian foreign minister insisted that Tehran was “still at the negotiating table” with Washington following the killing of Iran’s top military commander Qasem Soleimani, but called upon the Trump administration to “correct its past”.
“I never rule out the possibility that people will change their approach and recognise the realities. For us, it doesn’t matter who is sitting in the White House. What matters is how they behave”, Zarif told Der Spiegel.
“The Trump administration can correct its past, lift the sanctions, and come back to the negotiating table. We’re still at the negotiating table. They’re the ones who left. The US has inflicted great harm on the Iranian people. The day will come when they will have to compensate for that. We have a lot of patience”, the foreign minister said.
US-Iran Relations Hit a New Low
On 3 January, Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Quds Force commander General Qasem Soleimani was killed in a targeted US attack near Baghdadi International Airport. Tehran later responded with airstrikes on US military facilities in Iraq. There were no casualties as a result of Iran’s airstrikes.
Following the developments, Iran announced on 5 January that it would no longer comply with the remaining obligations under the nuclear deal, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). The agreement was signed in 2015 by Iran, China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom, the United States, and Germany, aiming to have Tehran considerably limit its nuclear programme and eliminate its stockpile of medium- and low-enriched uranium in exchange for the removal of international sanctions.
The US, however, unilaterally ditched the accord in 2018, with the Trump administration later imposing energy and banking sanctions on the Islamic Republic.
Following the move, Iran began to gradually reduce its JCPOA obligations while calling on European signatories to the treaty to honour their commitments and shield Tehran from US sanctions.
On Friday, the US Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control announced that it would introduce a new round of sanctions against Iran, targeting six international petrochemical and oil firms and two individuals accused of helping Iran bypass earlier sanctions.