Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said last week that by exiting the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) in 2018, the United States gave up its rights but not its obligations.

In an interview with Iranian journalist Mehdi Nasiri that was uploaded to the Arman Media YouTube channel on Dec. 9, Zarif said, “America is still obligated to lift its sanctions, and to refrain from creating obstacles because it has remained a member of the United Nations since leaving the JCPOA.”

“Of course,” he added, “it had the option to leave [the United Nations], like it left UNESCO and other organizations. Allah willing, it will also leave planet Earth.”

Because of this, he continued, the administration of President-elect Joe Biden would be “obligated” to rejoin the JCPOA “unless it chooses to break the law and mounts an insurgency.”

He explained that the Western powers had tried to include Iran’s missile program and its regional activity in the JCPOA, but failed and had to compromise. Hence, he said, they did not have the option to demand the inclusion of these issues now.

Moreover, he said, the United States has sold billions of dollars’ worth of arms to Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and other Arab countries.

“Last year, they sold $67 billion worth of weapons to Saudi Arabia. They sold over $22 billion worth of weapons to the UAE. They are now selling F-35s [fighter jets] to the UAE. Nothing stops them when it comes to selling weapons to these countries. Are they willing to decrease their sale of weapons to the region? Of course, not,” he said.

In fact, he emphasized, it was the United States that owed Iran.

“They owe the Iranian people. We must not feel inferior,” he said.

With regard to Iran’s policy and strategy for confronting Israel, Zarif said, “I state this unequivocally: Personally, I cannot think of any circumstances under which we would officially recognize Israel. I’m not saying it’s impossible, but I cannot imagine under what circumstances we would do this.”

On Israel, said Zarif, “the honorable leader [Ali Khamenei] has expressed the solution. We’re not talking about ‘throwing the kikes into the sea,’ or about a military attack, or about suicide operations.”

Rather, he continued, Iran has suggested to the United Nations that a popular referendum, including Palestinians in the land and in the Diaspora, would resolve the matter.


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