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Zarif to US: Threats won’t work with Iran, try respect

Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif says Iran will never give in to external pressure, advising US officials to stop threatening the Iranian nation and learn how to respect it instead.

Speaking in Tehran on Monday, Zarif said Washington’s attempt to pressure Tehran into negotiations is a direct result of the many defeats that it has conceded to Iran both in the region and on the international scene.

“We will never succumb to international pressure, and together with the people of the world, we will force them to only treat Iran with respect and never threaten an Iranian,” Zarif said at an event on the occasion of the national industry and mine day.

He said the US has tried every possible means to weaken Iran and now turned into economic pressure as the last resort.

“The US would do anything to find allies against Iran,” Zarif said, referring to America’s four attempts last year to make a case against Iran in the United Nations Security Council, but to no avail.

“That is why they resorted to economy as the last trick in their disposal,” he argued.

Tensions have been running high between the two countries since Trump’s decision in May last year to abandon the 2015 Iran nuclear deal and reimpose sanctions on Tehran as part of a “maximum pressure” campaign.

The US has also sent warships, bombers and additional troops to the region in the wake of suspicious tanker attacks in the Sea of Oman, which it has blamed on Iran without providing evidence.

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Zarif said the US quit the nuclear deal—known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) – because it helped Iran expand its influence in the Middle East region.

“The Americans arrived at the conclusion that that, with the JCPOA, the Islamic Republic had broken free from the shackles that tied its hands and was increasing its regional power and presence” while Washington became “weaker by the day,” the top Iranian diplomat said.

They “tried to use the dollar’s medium-term domination in global economy to cause trouble for us but instead put themselves in trouble in the long run,” he added.

Trump has called for talks with Iran with “no preconditions,” but Tehran has rejected the offer as long as Washington does not return to the JCPOA and maintains its political and economic pressure on the country. 

Iran showed its resolve to confront aggressive US policies late last month, when the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps shot down an intruding US spy drone. The measure put Trump in a tough position, where he had to consider and quickly back out of retaliatory strikes.

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Following the drone incident, the US introduced a new set of sanctions that targeted top Iranian officials, including Leader of the Islamic Revolution Seyyed Ali Khamenei and Zarif, and senior military commanders.

Iran called the sanctions “idiotic” and said such actions amounted to a “permanent closure of the path to diplomacy” with the Trump administration.

Zarif said Monday the US was looking to “break the resistance and the livelihood” of the Iranian nation “who excellently resisted [US pressure] over the past four decades and are the key principle of Iran’s grandeur.” 

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