Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif has bashed President Donald Trump ahead of what looks certain to become a showdown over the legacy of former President Barack Obama’s top foreign policy achievement — the Iran deal.
Zarif, a key architect of the 2015 accord, gave an interview to Politico that shed light on the fraught multilateral discussions the US, Europe, and Iran hold over the continued recertification of the Iran deal — and according to Zarif, Europe is taking his side.
Trump campaigned vigorously on the idea of ripping up the 2015 deal that prohibits Iran from pursuing nuclear weapons, but since he came into office he has paid relatively little attention to the agreement, instead focusing on North Korea’s burgeoning, unchecked nuclear advances.
But Trump has not forgotten his convictions.
Every 90 days the US has to confirm that Iran has complied with the terms of the deal. For the first six months of Trump’s presidency, he has gone through with the procedure, albeit begrudgingly, according to the Associated Press.
Reports, citing sources in the administration and the State Department, said Trump has been looking for a way out of the deal by drumming up “foolproof intelligence” that Iran has violated the deal.
But Trump and his understaffed State Department have reportedly strained relationships in Europe, and weakened the US’s credibility. Trump himself announced his intention to exit the deal even without evidence of wrongdoing on Iran’s part.
“If it was up to me, I would have had them noncompliant 180 days ago,” Trump told the Wall Street Journal of the Iran deal.
Now Zarif, who is by all accounts very good at his job, seems to have capitalised on Trump’s haste.
“The Europeans have made it very clear to us and to the United States that they intend to do their utmost to ensure survival of the deal,” Zarif told Politico.
Even beyond Europe, who may differ with the US on certain issues but shouldn’t be expected to drift too far out of the US’s sphere of influence, Zarif pointed out that exiting the Iran deal could have major consequences for the US around the world.
“Look at the message that you are sending to the world,” Zarif said. Withdrawing from the Iran deal “would make it tougher for anybody to believe and rely upon the United States — anybody, not just North Korea. You’ve seen US allies saying that the United States is not a reliable partner.”
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