Jul 21, 2019, 5:03 PM
Journalist ID: 1842
News Code: 83405246
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FM Zarif: Unlike US allies, Iran not working with violence-escalating groups

Tehran, July 21, IRNA – Foreign Minister Mohammad-Javad Zarif said in an exclusive interview with the PBS news channel of the US that Iran is working with groups that are defending themselves, but the United States' allies are working with groups that promote violence.

"We work with people and support people, as everybody should, who are defending their territorial integrity, [and] who are fighting occupation, " Zarif told PBD on Saturday, adding that Iran has never work with al-Qaida, the ISIS, Nosra Front, and those who are beheading or burning alive individuals.

Regarding Hezbollah, he said that the group has representative in the Lebanese parliament and during the time the Saudis imprisoned the Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri, "Hezbollah made sure that Lebanon would stay calm and quite while Saudi Arabia was questioning and interrogating the prime minister of another state."

Zarif said Iran is "very transparent" in this issue: "We will not support anybody who is destabilizing."

"We believe it is the United States who is destabilizing and its allies."

He also said that the people with whom Iran works represent their own people, are menders of their own parliament, are important figures in their own community, and they are not a destabilizing force.

"Had it not been for Hezbollah fighting ISIS in Lebanon and in Syria, we would have a totally different situation."

Saying that it is necessary to define "destabilizing", Zarif said that the United States and its presence in the Middle East have been destabilizing and to support his idea he said, "Take President Trump".

"I simply agree with President Trump," as he said in his presidential debates that Iran is fighting the ISIS and that the US helped create the ISIS, Zarif said.

Answering a question about the Syrian Government, he said as it has been said time and again, Iran is in Syria, Iraq and even the Iraqi Kurdistan to fight the ISIS.

"The decision about who should rule Syria is not ours [and] is not yours; that decision is solely a decision that should be made by the people of Syria."

Iran says the world should let the people of Syria decide, but the US wants to predetermine that Bashar Assad will not be running in the election.

Regarding the few dual nationals in Iranian prisons, he said that the US in detaining many Iranians that have not committed any crime. The US is pushing other countries to detain Iranians who have only violated the US sanctions; they never set foot in the United States. But they are held in Australia, Germany, France, the UK, Africa and Asia.

"I called for a comprehensive exchange; unfortunately, the United States is not prepared to do that. Iran showed its good faith by releasing one; the United States has not reciprocated… The problem is in Washington, not in Tehran."

He said that the individuals who are in Iran prisons have been convicted by a court, but the individuals who are awaiting extradition to the United States have not been coveted by any court.

The number of Iranians detained in the US, most of whom are university professors and one of whose cases has become public in the US, are several times more than the dual nationals convicted in Iran; the only solution is to exchange them, Zarif said.

As a message to the people of the US, he said that neither the people nor the government of Iran has anything against the people of the US.

"All we want is for nobody to intervene in our affairs," he said, adding that the Americans can "easily understand" that as they had the American Revolution for the same reason.   

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