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Interested in Diplomacy But Not in Negotiating with US, Says Iran's Foreign Minister

Hitting out at the US, Javad Zarif said Qasem Soleimani was the single biggest threat to ISIS and his killing was now being celebrated by the terror group and US President Donald Trump.

PTI

Updated:January 15, 2020, 10:43 PM IST
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Interested in Diplomacy But Not in Negotiating with US, Says Iran's Foreign Minister
File photo of Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif. (REUTERS)

New Delhi: India can play a role in de-escalating tensions in the Gulf region as New Delhi is an important player, Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif said on Wednesday.

Addressing the gathering at the Raisina Dialogue here, Zarif said his country was interested in diplomacy, but not in negotiating with the US, remarks that come amid spiralling tensions between the two countries over the killing of Iranian general Qasem Soleimani.

Hitting out at the US, he said Soleimani was the single biggest threat to ISIS and his killing was now being celebrated by the terror group and US President Donald Trump.

"Who is celebrating Soleimani's killing? President Trump, (US Secretary of State Mike) Pompeo and Daesh (ISIS). You wonder about strange bedfellows? Not really," he said, adding Soleimani's killing had showed ignorance and arrogance on the part of the US.

Zarif claimed 430 Indian cities saw protests and commemorative meetings after Soleimani's killing.

India can play a role in de-escalating tensions in the Gulf region as New Delhi is an important player, he said.

India has been maintaining it would like the situation to de-escalate as soon as possible and the country has been in touch with key players, including Iran, United Arab Emirates, Oman and Qatar, as it has important interests in the region.

Zarif, in his address, said European powers have violated the 2015 international nuclear deal -- Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) that was signed between Iran and the P5+1 (China France, Germany, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States).

His remarks came a day after Britain, France and Germany launched a complaint against Iran for non-compliance.

"The future of the nuclear deal depends on Europe. JCPOA was one of the best deals... one of the best multilateral agreements. None of the 11 commitments given to Iran were fulfilled. Not only the US, but also EU failed to keep those commitments," Zarif said.

The EU is in violation of JCPOA commitments independent of American violations, he said.

"You (EU countries) are independent countries. Why do you let US bully you? So we triggered the dispute resolution mechanism. Nothing happened. They did not even respond," he said.

"We have said that once Europe reverses, we will reverse too. We have lost hundreds of billions of dollars. If they pay us those hundreds of billions we will reverse our decisions," Zarif said.

Referring to the Ukrainian jetliner that crashed earlier this week killing all 176 aboard, Zarif said shooting down of the civilian plane was a mistake.

"Why did it happen? Because there was a crisis. People make mistakes, unforgivable mistakes, but it happened in the time of the crisis," Zarif said.

Iran's Revolutionary Guard has acknowledged that it accidentally shot down the Ukrainian aircraft. "We need to create hope in the region. We have to get rid of despair," he said.

Zarif's remarks come amid the global focus being on Iran and the US over the confrontation between them following Soleimani's killing.

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