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Iran's Zarif Says Trump Misunderstood Comment About Sanctions And Negotiation

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif at the Iranian Foreign Ministry, Tehran, January 20, 2020.

The Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has claimed that President Donald Trump misunderstood his comments in an interview with Germany's Der Spiegel on Friday, when he had said the Trump administration can lift its sanctions and return to negotiations, adding, "We are still at the negotiating table".

Zarif comment appears to point to the framework of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action or JCPOA, involving the signatories of the 2015 nuclear agreement.

On Saturday Trump tweeted, "Iran wants to negotiate with the United States but wants sanctions removed" and declined it by saying "No. Thanks!"

In his latest tweet addressed to Trump Zarif posted a screenshot of his interview with Der Spiegel and said the U.S. President was "better advised to base his foreign policy comments and decisions on facts", rather than media headlines or "his Farsi translators" and called on him to read the interview.

In the interview, Zarif was asked if after the killing of Iran's influential hardliner General Qassem Soleimani he would rule out the possibility of negotiations with the United States. The answer was that he would never rule out the possibility if the Trump administration could correct its past, "lift the sanctions and come back to the negotiation table". Iran is "still at the negotiating table. They are the ones who left".

President Trump's Tweet in Persian and its English version.

Since the targeted killing of Soleimani in a U.S. drone attack in Iraq, Zarif and the Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and U.S. officials including the President have several times addressed each other or responded to each other on Twitter.

Curiously, the Iranians usually tweet in English and U.S. officials are now sometimes tweeting in Persian, including President Trump's last tweet to Zarif which is in Persian. In his first tweet in Persian on January 11 Trump addressed the Iranian nation and said he would "stand with them" and keeps informed of their protests closely.