US 'Shot Itself in the Foot' by Quitting Iran Deal
(Bloomberg) -- The U.S. has “shot itself in the foot” by pulling out of the nuclear accord with Iran, Foreign Minister Javad Zarif said, offering a grim outlook for the chance of restarting talks with President Donald Trump.
Zarif said Wednesday in an interview with Bloomberg Television that the European countries that are part of the original agreement have not stepped up to carry out their own commitments under the 2015 nuclear deal.
Iran has the capability to pursue nuclear weapons but “we’re not going to build” them because Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei made a “religious commitment” that they were forbidden, Zarif said in the interview with Bloomberg Editor in Chief John Micklethwait.
“If we wanted to build nuclear weapons, we could have built it a long time ago,” said Zarif, who was in New York to address a United Nations meeting.
Nevertheless, Zarif signaled that Iran will continue to pursue what he called the Islamic Republic’s rights under the accord to respond to the U.S. pullout and failed European efforts to deliver promised benefits to the Iranian economy.
Zarif, who has been Iran’s foreign minister since 2013, was the lead negotiator in the multi-party nuclear accord reached in 2015 under the Obama administration that Trump has since rejected.
Pressed on how to engage with the U.S. in a way that eases tensions, Zarif suggested that the burden falls on Trump. He also expressed skepticism of renegotiating the 2015 accord, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, to include talks on Iran’s missile program.
“You don’t buy a horse twice,” he said.
Zarif rejected the idea that Iran is waiting for next year’s U.S. election to put a Democratic president in office who might be open to reentering the deal.
“No country in their right mind would make their foreign policy based on results they don’t have any control over,” he said. He went on to give Trump a “better than 50% chance” of winning reelection.
--With assistance from Glen Carey.
To contact the reporters on this story:
Margaret Talev in Washington at firstname.lastname@example.org;
David Wainer in New York at email@example.com
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Michael Shepard at firstname.lastname@example.org
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