Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif says Iran will continue to play an “active, stable, responsible, and powerful" role in the region despite the U.S. “demonization” of Iran.
Zarif took to his official Twitter account on August 31 to respond to earlier remarks by U.S. President Donald Trump, who said the government in Iran could collapse because of his administration’s policies.
"Bipolar demonization of Iran as either 'taking over MidEast' or 'fighting for survival' indicates U.S. cognitive disorder & demagoguery unleashed by collapse of America's moral compass," Zarif said.
“When I came into here, it was a question of when would they take over the Middle East,” Trump said on August 30 in an Oval Office interview with Bloomberg News. “Now it’s a question of will they survive. It’s a big difference in one and a half years.”
The president didn’t elaborate on the comment, Bloomberg noted.
On August 6, Trump signed a decree on restoring sanctions against Iran that had been canceled in January 2016, after the implementation of the Joint Comprehensive Plan Of Action (JCPOA) or Tehran’s nuclear deal with world powers.
JCPOA was signed by the United States, the United Kingdom, France, China, Russia, Germany, and Iran in 2015. The agreement lifted international sanctions against Tehran in exchange for Iran ceasing its nuclear weapon programs.
“The restrictions are introduced in the context of the decision of the president from May 8, 2018, on termination of participation of the U.S. in JCPOA and restoring all sanctions canceled or suspended in connection with JCPOA,” the White House said in a statement.
The new sanctions are being restored in two stages. The first package of restrictions targeting the automotive market, precious metals, public debt, software, and financial transactions came into force on August 7.
The second package of sanctions will concern oil and gas exports from Iran and will come into effect on November 4.
While the re-imposed sanctions are expected to put Iran under considerable pressure, Tehran’s economic tribulation started long before the implementation of the U.S. renewed sanctions.
The downfall of the value of the Iranian national currency, the rial, began weeks before Trump’s decision to withdraw from JCPOA.
The rial’s freefall was so abrupt that it led to unprecedented widespread protest rallies against the Islamic establishment, including enraged demonstrations by businessmen at Tehran’s Grand Bazaar who traditionally support the conservative clergy.
On at least two occasions, Trump have proposed to meet with the Iranians without any precondition. Furthermore, his secretaries of state and defense have repeatedly insisted Washington is not seeking a “regime change” in Iran.
Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, for his part, has explicitly stressed he will not allow any meeting between the two sides and that negotiations with the United States are forbidden.