Aug 8, 2019, 12:39 PM
Journalist ID: 1655
News Code: 83430103
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Asia Times: Sanctioning Zarif will not rattle Iran’s government

Beijing, Aug 8, IRNA – US President Donald Trump’s decision to sanction Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad-Javad Zarif did not seem to rattle the government in Tehran, Hong-Kong-based news website Asia Times reported.

The US Department of the Treasury last week imposed sanctions against Iranian Foreign Minister for working for the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei. The moves came on the heels of the movement restrictions against the Iranian foreign minister when it was in New York for a UN meeting.

Addressing the issue, Asia Times reported that “The buzz in Washington suggests that both Trump and his Secretary of State Mike Pompeo were unhappy with Zarif’s interactions with the US media."

The media added that Zarif, who studied in the United States, is comfortable with television cameras and has proven more than capable of making a rational case against the US unilateral withdrawal from the 2015 Iran nuclear deal.

Referring that Zarif is indeed urbane and eloquent, but those are not his only strengths, the news website added: “He has the additional advantage of having the facts on his side. United Nations agencies all say that Iran has confirmed that it will abide by the terms of the JCPOA, and that there is no reason for unilateral sanctions imposed by the US. This is a view accepted by the European Union.”

Asia Times added that Trump’s main problem is that the United States does not have a legitimate case to make against Iran. If the US mounts an enormous assault on Iran, the war will widen from Lebanon to Afghanistan. No rational person would support this.

“The Zarif issue is actually a red herring. Even before the sanctions on him personally, the United States showed no appetite for diplomacy. Iran spent several years negotiating with the five permanent members of the UN Security Council, as well as with Germany and the European Union, to produce the JCPOA, which was then ratified by the United Nations in 2015.”, the media said.

The Hong-Kong-based news website added that after the US withdrew from the deal, Iran continued to indicate its desire for a diplomatic solution while Washington refused to come to the table.

The Europeans say that they will continue to work with Zarif to maintain open diplomatic channels, according to the Asia Times.

Some observers believe that the sanctions imposed on Zarif is not only symbolic but also indicate how Washington is afraid of Iran’s diplomacy influence.

Zarif, who has been Iran’s foreign minister since 2013, was the chief negotiator in the multinational nuclear deal known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.

In a recent interview with the New York Times, Zarif said "Everyone who knows me knows that I, or my family, do not own any property outside Iran. I personally do not even have a bank account outside Iran. Iran is my entire life and my sole commitment. So I have no personal problem with possible sanctions."

He added: "The only impact--and possibly the sole objective--of a possible designation would be to limit my ability to communicate. And I doubt that would serve anyone. Certainly, it would limit the possibility of informed decision making in Washington."

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