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Iran's Zarif Dismisses Trump, Hook Threats Over Sanctions

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad-Javad Zarif. Undated Photo.
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad-Javad Zarif. Undated Photo.

Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad-Javad Zarif on Thursday lashed out at President Donald Trump and the Special Representative on Iran Brian Hook's threats to trigger a return of all United Nations sanctions if the arms embargo under the Iran nuclear agreement is not extended in October.

Hook wrote in the Wall Street Journal on Tuesday that the United States is ready to "snap back" sanctions and has drafted a Security Council resolution and “will press ahead with diplomacy and build support" to ensure that the arms embargo will remain.

"What Mr. Hook has said about nothing remaining from the JCPOA is none of his business. What matters is [what decisions are made by] Iran and the remaining parties to the JCPOA," Zarif said on Thursday and added: “We have carried out all our measures within the framework of the JCPOA” while calling on the remaining parties to change their “behavior” so that Tehran can return to the full implementation of the JCPOA.

U.S. President Donald Trump withdrew from the JCPOA in May 2018 and called the agreement negotiated by the Obama administration “the worst deal ever.” However, the United States now says that it can trigger a return of not only the arms embargo but all U.N. sanctions as a participant in JCPOA.

Commenting to reporters on Thursday about the United States' status in the nuclear agreement with world powers officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), Zarif called the U.S. position "very stupid" and said it was not surprising "that those who tell people to drink disinfectants not to catch coronavirus are claiming to be a party to an agreement that they have officially and in writing withdrawn from".

Zarif also retorted to Hook's remarks on the nuclear agreement's dissolution before the next U.S. presidential race. In recent comments addressing Joe Biden on May 10, Hook had said that even if Biden won the presidential race, "nothing would be left of the nuclear deal" to return to by the time of the next U.S. president is in office. Biden has promised his supporters to reinforce and expand the JCPOA in cooperation with U.S. allies.

A U.N. Security Council resolution to reinstate sanctions on Iran requires nine yes votes and no vetoes by Russia, China, the United States, France or Britain. Iran is counting on Russia and China to veto any U.S move to pass a resolution.