Asharq Al-awsat English Middle-east and International News and Opinion from Asharq Al-awsat Newspaper

Zarif Says Not Interested in Negotiations With US, Rouhani Criticizes EU

Zarif Says Not Interested in Negotiations With US, Rouhani Criticizes EU

Wednesday, 15 January, 2020 - 08:30
FILE PHOTO: Iranian President Hassan Rouhani (R) and Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif attend a meeting with Muslim leaders and scholars in Hyderabad, India, February 15, 2018. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui
Asharq Al-Awsat

Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif on Wednesday rejected any direct nuclear negotiations with Washington. Speaking at a security conference in New Delhi, he said he wasn't sure how long any pact by US President Donald Trump would last.

"We had a US deal and the US broke it. If we have a Trump deal, how long will it last, another 10 months...?", he said.

Zarif noted that the country's 2015 nuclear deal signed with major powers - China, Russia, France, Britain, the US and Germany - to curb its nuclear program is 'not dead'.

"No, it's not dead. It's not dead," Zarif told Reuters on the sidelines of the conference. He noted that the 2015 deal is among the "best deals" he could imagine.

Earlier on Tuesday, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson called on Trump to replace the Iranian nuclear deal with his own new pact to ensure that Iran does not get an atomic weapon, to which the US president has agreed.

Meanwhile, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani criticized the US and EU for breaking their promises. He dismissed a proposal for any new "Trump deal," saying it was a "strange" offer.

In a televised speech on Wednesday, Rouhani said that EU has failed to act as an independent block, saying it should apologize to Tehran for its failures to keep its promises. He stressed that also Trump has always broken promises.

Rouhani further warned that EU soldiers in the Mideast “could be in danger.”

"Today, the US soldier is in danger, tomorrow the European soldier could be in danger,” Rouhani said without elaborating.

He called on Washington to return to the 2015 nuclear pact, adding that Tehran could reverse its moves to scale back its commitments under the deal.

According to Reuters, Trump in 2018 abandoned the nuclear agreement reached under predecessor Barack Obama, saying it was too weak and that new sanctions would force Iran to accept more stringent terms.

However, Iran refuses to negotiate under imposed sanctions.

Editor Picks