Read twin of USA TODAY talk with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif


A twin of USA TODAY’s speak with Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif. USA TODAY unfamiliar match Kim Hjelmgaard interviewed Zarif in Antalya, a review city on Turkey’s southwestern Mediterranean coast, where he was attending an mercantile conference. The twin has been edited for clarity. 

USA TODAY: President Donald Trump’s administration is re-imposing all a abrasive mercantile penalties that were carried by a Obama administration as partial of a 2015 chief deal. Is Iran prepared for this?

ZARIF: Well, a doubt is, is a ubiquitous village prepared for it since a stream U.S. administration is radically seeking all members of a ubiquitous village to violate ubiquitous law. The U.S. is not, itself, customarily violating, it’s seeking others to violate, too, since we know when we agreed [to] a chief understanding it was enshrined in a United Nations Security Council resolution. And a Security Council resolution, that was indeed not customarily voted for by a United States, though sponsored by a United States, by a prior administration. The U.S. supervision called on all countries to assistance practice a fortitude and not to do anything that would forestall a implementation.

Now a United States, itself, is preventing a deal’s doing and seeking other countries not to rivet in mercantile exchange with us, that means preventing a doing of a resolution, since a design of a fortitude was to normalize Iran’s business family with a rest of a world. So a United States is, in fact, punishing people and countries for watching ubiquitous law and rewarding them for violating ubiquitous law. Iran is used to U.S. sanctions. We’ve had them for roughly 39 years. We haven’t had an easy story with a United States, though it did not start on Nov 4, 1979, [with a Iran warrant crisis]. It started prolonged before that in 1953 [with a CIA -orchestrated tract that private Iran’s democratically inaugurated primary minister]. Nevertheless, we are used to measures that were never legal, though this time they are unusually illegal. 

Iran has 7,000 years of history. We’ve lived by some-more formidable times. For 8 years [the Iran-Iraq War], we lived by a quarrel that was imposed on Iran and everybody upheld a aggressor, [Iraq’s] Saddam Hussein. The United States upheld it, a Soviet Union upheld him, a Europeans upheld him. The Soviets gave him MiG [jet] fighters, a French gave him Mirage [jet] fighters, a Brits gave him Chieftain tanks, a American gave him AWACS reconnaissance, a Germans gave him chemical weapons, a Saudis gave him $70 billion value of assistance. 

Everybody pitched in, Iran survived, and now, as during that time, we were isolated. 

But a United States is isolated, too. You heard, yesterday [Nov. 2], a Europeans again finished a matter conflicting a sanctions. Whether a private businesses will go along, it’s a conflicting story, though a ubiquitous communities [are] standing conflicting these sanctions.

USA TODAY: Iranians competence not be panicking [because of a sanctions]. They are not unfortunate [or on a verge of revolution, as infrequently characterized by a Trump administration]. But they are weary. And they are carrying difficulty shopping some [essential goods]. What do we contend to normal Iranians who are held in a center who customarily wish to get on with vital their lives?

ZARIF: They have any right to. On a essential goods, we disagree. The supervision is providing subsidies so that a necessities for peoples’ lives will be supposing during a prior prices , though nobody claims mercantile sanctions don’t hurt. Economic sanctions always hurt, though they don’t grasp a process objectives they intend to achieve. Sometimes, they grasp accurately a opposite. 

What we would contend to a normal Iranian is that for us, articulate to a United States was a taboo. We pennyless that taboo, we spoke to a United States, we had a longest negotiations with a United States. We reached an agreement with a United States, not a two-page agreement, though a 150-page agreement. And a United States motionless to travel divided from it. It wasn’t a error that a United States is not a arguable negotiating partner. It’s a problem that a ubiquitous village is facing. And a U.S. has not customarily walked divided from a Iran deal: It walked divided from a Paris climate-change understanding [in Jun 2017]. It walked divided from an arms-control agreement with Russia [the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces treaty, or INF, in October]. It walked divided from NAFTA [North American Free Trade Agreement, re-branded as a United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement, or USMCA, in September]. It walked divided from a Trans-Pacific Partnership [a 12-nation trade deal, in Jan 2017]. It walked divided from UNESCO [United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, in Oct 2017). It walked divided from a Human Rights Council [a UN body, in June.] Basically, there are singular exceptions where it hasn’t walked away. 

So this is a form of U.S. administration that we’re traffic with and I’m certain a Iranian community, a Iranian population, while we know that they are unfortunate with a conditions right now, can also know that it’s not a error of a government, though it is since we have a brute regime in Washington that doesn’t live by any element of ubiquitous law.

USA TODAY: The Europeans have been insisting for months a chief understanding can exist though U.S. participation. They’ve come adult with a judgment called a “special purpose vehicle.” This is a financial resource that somehow is going to safeguard that trade between Europe and Iran lift on. Is this eventually cursed to failure? After all, Washington is looking during this closely and observant whatever a Europeans come adult with, we’re not going to concede a sanctions to be avoided.

ZARIF: Here’s a problem: The United States is sportive a mercantile energy over a normal excusable limits. Whenever we do that, we risk backlash. Now, this recoil is starting. It doesn’t meant that [the special purpose vehicle] will succeed. There’s no pledge that it will, though it’s a seed of a new ubiquitous financial system. In annoy of a U.S.’s strenuous change on a stream ubiquitous financial system, people are fed adult with a United States revelation them what to do and what not to do. Simply fed up, and now we see between many countries, we’re in Turkey right now, Turkey has financial arrangements with many countries, with us, Russia, with China, with Ukraine, with other countries in sequence to use a possess currencies. We have that arrangement with many [nations].

The some-more a United States puts vigour on several countries, a ostensible weaponization of U.S. economy or weaponization of a U.S. dollar, a some-more it does that, a some-more people around a universe will take measures to equivocate it. The special purpose car is one magnitude privately designed as a initial step to understanding with Iran’s situation, though it’s ultimate objective, as we’ve listened from a Europeans, is not simply to isolate trade between Iran and Europe, or between Iran and a third-party partners, though in fact [for Europe] to isolate themselves from a vigour it faces from a United States.

So that’s a seed of a new ubiquitous reality, that competence not bear fruit shortly adequate to residence a concern, though it will be a commencement of a new proviso of ubiquitous mercantile relations.

USA TODAY: The United States is arising oil waivers to 8 countries. Are there other behind channels and ways that Iran can continue to sell oil notwithstanding a sanctions?

ZARIF: Trump and his administration pronounced they would move Iranian oil exports to 0 [because of a sanctions]. We pronounced that was a dream that will never come true. … We have seen we were right. They were bluffing about this try to forestall Iran from offering oil. They know what a impact on a ubiquitous economy would be and they’ll never be means to do it, period. We have always had several ways of offering a oil and we will continue to have ways of offering a oil, and a United States will continue to destroy to practice that policy.

But what a United States is compelling … since when we do this, we foster corruption, we foster miss of transparency. People, countries, will continue to trade. What a United States is doing is preventing transparency, preventing open trade. If we can't plainly trade a commodities, if we can't get what we wish to get from open, pure ubiquitous transactions, we will not distortion down and wait to die. We will do it. We will do it by whatever means that is necessary.

USA TODAY: The U.S. midterm elections: What is a best outcome for Iran? Is it as elementary as Democratic gains are good for Iran since they could feasible yield a check on Trump’s agenda?

ZARIF: In one sentence, we’re not pinning any hopes on [the midterm elections] or 2020. What distinguishes Iran from some U.S. clients in a segment is we have survived not customarily in annoy of a U.S. though conflicting U.S. … Iran has been by Democratic and Republican administrations in a past. … All of them hostile. … We rest on ourselves. 

USA TODAY: Trump has pronounced he’s peaceful to reason talks with President Hassan Rouhani, though pre-conditions. Your supervision adult until this indicate has finished it utterly transparent that you’re not meddlesome in doing that. Why? Isn’t it always some-more cultivatable to have diplomacy, to have talks rather than to shelter from diplomacy?

ZARIF: It is always useful to have diplomacy. And we’re not customarily observant it, we practice it. we sat down with [former Secretary of State John] Kerry after fundamentally 37 years of no talks between Iran and United States during any level. And we did it during a top tactful level. And afterwards we spent dual years, day and night, negotiating in one proceed or a other together, and we achieved certain results. We guess that that would uncover a value of diplomacy; that we can't benefit by any other means. But this administration does not trust in diplomacy. This administration believes in imposition.

For negotiations to succeed, for any traffic to succeed, we do not need mutual trust. Because when we lay with an counter or even a crony in ubiquitous relations, we can't simply trust; differently we don’t need to negotiate with them. You will customarily tell them that I’ll do this and that, you’ll do this, and that will be finish of a story. But we lay down, we write things on a paper, we pointer them, or we have them adopted by a [UN] Security Council since we do not trust any other.

But while mutual trust is not a requirement to start negotiations, mutual honour is a requirement. And mutual honour starts with respecting yourself, respecting your signature, respecting your possess word. You can't contend that dual years down a highway there is another administration, that competence not honour a agreement of this administration. You can't contend that in a year-and-a-half, in dual years, in 3 years, we will have a conflicting administration. … And a fact of a matter is, customarily in democracies, administrations that attain any other are not accessible to a prior administration. 

For somebody to simply say: ‘I don’t like it. we wish to travel divided from it since we trust we am absolute adequate to do it. What is a pledge that they won’t do it again with a subsequent agreement? [Trump] says it’s since it wasn’t validated by Congress, that it was a personal agreement between President Obama and a Iranian government. I’ll tell them that initial of all it is enclosed in a Security Council resolution. And a Security Council is not … nonetheless President Trump competence cruise that cover as a room in a White House as he attempted to do [in September, during a United Nations’ General Assembly in New York], though it’s not. It’s an central organ of a United Nations. Even putting [a] Security Council fortitude aside. The United States customarily walked out of a covenant validated by a Senate: The 1955 covenant between Iran and a U.S. on that a International Court of Justice systematic a United States to stop some of a sanctions. The U.S. simply walked out of it since it didn’t like a sequence of a court.

USA TODAY: If there was a conflicting U.S. administration would Iran cruise deliberating for a new chief deal? Would Iran during slightest cruise carrying exploratory discussions with a Trump administration?

ZARIF: We were in a same room, myself and [former] Secretary of State [Rex] Tillerson were in a same room and we did talk. But everybody else did too and everybody told him a JCPOA [the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, famous ordinarily as a Iran chief deal] is a reasonable document, that this chief understanding is a reasonable document. And 3 of a countries that were sitting around a list were a closest allies of a United States and have been for a past 70 years or so. And they told him: ‘This is a best understanding we can get.’ And he simply said: ‘I paint a president, who doesn’t cruise so. So going into a room and sitting down with a deputy of this administration to try what? And I’m not observant that we can’t negotiate with this administration, so we will negotiate with a subsequent administration. There has to be a foundations for a cultivatable dialogue, it doesn’t have to be a subsequent administration. It has to be a new approach, a conflicting approach. we mean, we never negotiated in a certain atmosphere. Actually, Iran and a United States have a lot of differences. So we negotiated in an atmosphere of difference, of disproportion of view, of disproportion of interest, of disproportion of perspective. But we did strech an agreement on a subject that we were focusing on.

USA TODAY: Is there any hit between your administration and a Trump administration?


USA TODAY: For a forseeable future?

ZARIF: we can see some contention on a charitable issues of prisoners in a foreseeable future. But for a time being that would be singular to that.

USA TODAY: Saudi Arabia. Does Iran feel rather irreproachable for a viewpoint of Saudi Arabia given happened with a murdering of a Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi? Given indications that he was murdered possibly directly or indirectly with corner from a Saudi state?

ZARIF: Unfortunately, a chairman has been murdered in a unequivocally heartless way. … Who supposing $70 billion to Saddam Hussein? Who combined a Taliban?Whose adults were concerned in a Sep 11 attacks? Who upheld a Islamic State organisation in Syria? Who is bombing Yemeni civilians? Who abducted [Lebanon’s primary minister] and kept him in chains for 3 weeks? … we mean, demeanour during these realities. The United States has been not customarily creation a wrong choice though a West in ubiquitous has been promulgation a wrong signal. Basically, literally, revelation a Saudi stately family that we can get divided with murder, and they unequivocally believed it and they guess they could get divided with murder, since unfortunately, they have been removing divided with murder in Yemen.

USA TODAY: Iran blames a U.S. for exasperating all sorts of issues opposite a Middle East region. If we flip that over, a U.S. says that Iran is spending billions of dollars to account tellurian terrorism and a chief module and is generally sowing conflict and difficulty around a Middle East. Do we accept that Iran is complicit in some of these several theaters around a region? Because it seems like we have dual countries that are accusing any other of a behaving badly in a segment in identical ways.

ZARIF: We don’t need to credit any other since demeanour during a facts. Who was behind Al-Qaeda? Who combined Al-Qaeda? Tell me who. Was it Iran or was it a U.S. in sequence to quarrel a Soviets? Who upheld Saddam Hussein? Was it Iran? When Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait, who had been ancillary him for a final for a preceding 8 years? Who upheld a referendum in Kurdistan? . … Who is instigating racial problems inside Syria by permitting Kurds to take over Arab land customarily as feet soldiers for a United States, for a U.S. to have a foothold in a region? Who is ancillary a quarrel in Yemen, a murdering of trusting people? Are we bombing trusting people in Yemen?

The fact of a matter is, put allegations aside, a fact of a matter is Saudi aircraft, many of that are American built, are dropping bombs on propagandize buses [in Yemen]. Now, we do that to anybody and they urge themselves. People, we mean, Yemenis have fought with well-equipped armies with stones prolonged before a [1979] Iranian revolution, and they degraded them. Unfortunately, Saudi Arabia did not review history. They guess they could better a Yemenis in 3 weeks. We offering to a United States, we offering to [former U.S. Secretary of State] John Kerry a probability of a ceasefire as shortly as it started. The Saudi’s deserted it and pronounced that we can win militarily in 3 weeks time, customarily as they guess they could win militarily in Syria in 3 weeks time. Now it’s 7 years in Syria, roughly 4 years in Yemen. The carnage continues. … Now, in Syria, who is behind a Astana Process [plan to solve Syria’s polite war]? Who is perplexing to move a hostilities to an end? If anything, a United States is perplexing to forestall that. It is Iran, Russia, and Turkey operative together conflicting a U.S. and a allies. So customarily demeanour during a realities. I’m not creation accusations. I’m not job this organisation a militant or a other group. I’m simply regulating a accessible information formed on [UN] Security Council resolutions. we don’t lay in a Security Council. The Security Council, where a United States is a permanent member, considers [the Islamic State group], a Taliban, a Al Nusrah Front and Al-Qaeda to be [non-state] militant organizations. The rest are inhabitant designations. These 4 organizations are those who are deliberate globally, there is accord about that. And a United States or a allies had possibly combined them, financed them, armed them, continue to support them.

USA TODAY: Do we accept that your supervision finances militant groups in Syria, groups in Lebanon? 

ZARIF: We are in Syria on a invitation of a Syrian supervision fighting terrorists who are on a United Nations list of terrorists, not on a self-indulgent U.S. list of terrorists. We are in Syria for a same reason we were in Iraqi Kurdistan. We went to Iraqi Kurdistan to assistance them better ISIS. We’ve been consistent. Those we support in Lebanon are a partial of a Lebanese government. We indeed support a Lebanese government. We don’t incarcerate a primary apportion of Lebanon. The United States, instead of creation all these self-indulgent allegations that are not self-indulgent unequivocally since they harm U.S. interests, instead of creation these allegations that offer customarily a few clients, Israel and Saudi Arabia, a United States should demeanour during a reality. Who’s bombing Yemen? Who’s imprisoning another country’s primary minister? Who is assisting a Islamic State group? Who is assisting Al Nusrah Front? Whose arms are in a hands of a Islamic State group? You’ve seen a reports that ISIS was regulating American arms supposing by Saudi Arabia. These are a realities. These are not my allegations. These are realities. These groups are UN-designated groups, not US-designated groups. There is a difference, since a United States designates whoever it doesn’t like as a terrorist. Let me tell we an example. It competence be a chronological example: In 1984, a United States private Saddam Hussein as a state unite of terrorism. In a same year ,it put Iran on a list. You know why? Because a United States during that time wanted to go and support Saddam Hussein in a quarrel conflicting Iran. Don’t design me to cruise a United States’ list of terrorism designations to have any credit if it removes Saddam Hussein from a list and puts Iran on a list.

USA TODAY: The Danish confidence services pronounced they foiled a new designed conflict by an banished Iranian anarchist group. That came after a identical claim in France. That followed another one in Finland. Iran disputes these allegations and claims they are politically encouraged to put stretch between Europe and Iran as they have attempted to forge forward with a chief understanding though Washington. Why would France and Denmark do this? They have been unequivocally understanding of a chief deal.

ZARIF: We live in a universe where formidable comprehension operations are a sequence of a day. What creates us conflicting from those who make a allegations is that we’ve offering … we spoke to a Danish unfamiliar apportion final night, and we offering to him that we are prepared to control a corner investigation, that we are prepared to send a high-level comprehension officer. Now, we’re articulate about contribution and we’re articulate about allegations. Let’s demeanour during a contribution first. France houses, provides protected breakwater to an classification that was on a U.S. list of militant organizations until 2012, and on a EU list of militant organizations until about a same time, MEK. Denmark provides protected breakwater and support to an classification and people who went on ubiquitous radio financed by Saudi Arabia handling out of London called Iran International claiming, not condoning, claiming shortcoming for an operation that was conducted in Iran, an operation that a supervision of Denmark itself cursed as a militant operation. 

These are contribution on a ground. This lady in a Danish allegation is not an problematic face. It’s not an purported situation. This lady in chairman went on TV live, claimed shortcoming for an operation that a supervision of Denmark considers and cursed as a militant operation. You have an classification in Paris that has been on a list of U.S. as good as Europe as a militant organization. These are facts. Now we have allegations. You have allegations that somebody connected with Iran attempted to murder this person. Somebody connected with Iran attempted to put explosives in that assembly that they had in Paris. These are allegations. Those are facts. If anybody should yield a explanation, it would be France and Denmark. Why are they giving refuge, protected breakwater to famous terrorists? Why are they not prosecuting them? What we have finished is we have strictly asked both France and a United States to prosecute these people. We have asked a United Kingdom to demeanour during a fact that there is a radio hire that is financed by Saudi Arabia that broadcasts live militant claims and applauds it. These are facts. The proceed we have approached these contribution is by a authorised means of revelation them that we need to understanding with it. Now, we have allegations. Just demeanour during a chronology. On a day that a boss arrives in Switzerland, Mossad [Israel’s comprehension service] helps France and Belgium to foil that tract of a explosve conflict conflicting MEK. On a day Europe was ostensible to announce a investiture of SPV [a financial resource dictated to keep a chief understanding alive between Iran and Europe], Denmark creates a proclamation with a assistance of Mossad that they have arrested this person. What we do is we ask both of them let’s demeanour during this together. Let’s investigate. Now, France has been stirring and that is since we are deliberating this with France. we wish that Denmark will be forthcoming, since we offering this to a unfamiliar apportion of Denmark final night, and we wish that he will accept it. we wish that they will listen to critical intelligence, not to politically encouraged intelligence.

USA TODAY: A lot of Americans competence find it tough to accept that Iran’s supervision is anything though a bad actor, either that’s regionally, either that’s on a universe stage, or either that’s behaving conflicting your possess people in terms of tellurian rights abuses. What justification can we indicate to proves that Iran is simply a normal nation perplexing to demeanour after a possess interests, customarily like any other country?

ZARIF: we would ask them customarily to demeanour during a facts. Why are we being blamed for situations where it’s U.S. allies that are responsible? That’s a fact. In a region, there is a good understanding of guess about a United States. Anywhere we go we see that guess about U.S. interests, about U.S. intentions, objectives. we don’t know how most of it is well-founded. we know that a perceptions about Iran in a United States are formed on past experience, mostly a warrant crisis. That is taken also out of context of how a Iranians during that time viewed U.S. intentions in a context of what had happened in 1953 and in a manoeuvre d’état conflicting a democratically inaugurated supervision in Iran. One proceed to understanding with that, one proceed to understanding with that chronological container that we all had was to start a new phase. we had hoped that a chief understanding could infer that another form of communication would be possible. 

We had dealt with a formidable issue. Seemingly an emanate that could not have been resolved diplomatically. Everybody was examining when this was would start between Iran and a United States. We reached a unequivocally good understanding [the 2015 chief deal]. A unequivocally good understanding that does not residence all my concerns, doesn’t residence all American concerns. That’s since it’s a good deal. If it addressed all my concerns, it would have been acquiescence by a United States. Had it addressed all a U.S. concerns, it would have been acquiescence by Iran. That’s since it’s not submission, it’s a deal. we cruise and we guess that we could emanate a conflicting example, to put aside a past. This administration valid that was not possible.

USA TODAY: Is there any proceed over this corner between Iran and a United States?

ZARIF: We need a conflicting approach. We don’t need an administration that has a conflicting approach. we trust tellurian beings are means to change. This administration can have a conflicting approach.

USA TODAY: Is Iran peaceful to radically wait out a Trump administration to get a new chief deal?

ZARIF: We are peaceful to wait out this approach. The Trump administration can change a approach. We don’t meddle in a domestic politics of a U.S. It’s adult to a Americans to confirm who they wish to have to elect as their leader. We wish to see a conflicting approach. We don’t caring who is behind that approach.

USA TODAY: Let’s contend there’s a conflicting president, is Iran peaceful to talk?

ZARIF: If there is a conflicting approach.


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