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Iran Lawmakers Sue Zarif, Plan Impeachment

Iranian Foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif speaking at the Parliament on January 20, 2020.

An Iranian lawmaker on January 28 said twenty-three lawmakers have filed a lawsuit against Foreign Minister Javad Zarif and intend to impeach him.

Speaking to the state-run Mehr News Agency, Mohammad-Reza Pourebrahimi said the lawsuit would be the first step towards the Foreign Minister's impeachment.

In a letter to the Parliament's Presidium, these lawmakers have alleged that Zarif's interview with Der Spiegel last week had led to a "rude" response from Donald Trump.

Last Saturday, President Trump said in a tweet: "Iranian Foreign Minister says Iran wants to negotiate with the United States but wants sanctions removed," and added: "No Thanks!"

Zarif hit back by a tweet along with an excerpt from the controversial interview and advised Trump to avoid misunderstandings to base his foreign policy comments and decisions on facts rather than Fox News headlines or his Persian translators.

"The Trump administration can correct its past, lift the sanctions, and come back to the negotiating table. We're still at the negotiating table. They're the ones who left," Zarif wrote.

On Tuesday Pourebrahimi himself demanded that the Parliament impeach Zarif for the remarks he made in an interview with Germany's Der Spiegel concerning negotiation with the U.S.

Asked by the German newspaper whether he ruled out the possibility of negotiations with the U.S. following the killing of Iran's Qods [Quds] Force Commander Qassem Soleimani, Zarif had said he never ruled out the possibility that "people will change their approach and recognize the realities".

Hundreds of enraged Iranian hardliners on Monday afternoon rallied in front of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Tehran to protest against Zarif's remarks. The Foreign Ministry Spokesman Abbas Mousavi tried to play down his boss' comment and said Trump had misunderstood Zarif.

Nevertheless, Pourebrhimi insisted on Tuesday that Zarif's response had triggered a "wave of rage" among Iranians. "Making such comments, before the fortieth day of 'martyrdom' of Lieutenant General Soleimani, and while people of Kerman (Soleimani's place of birth) are still mourning his loss, is unacceptable", he said.