Iran’s foreign minister has condemned US efforts for the “elimination” of Iran, saying the Middle East will not be secure without Iran as a major regional player.
“The Americans are extremely wrong to think that they can secure the region through the elimination of Iran, because the regional security needs Iran and Iran also needs the security of the region,” Mohammad Javad Zarif told reporters on the sidelines of Africa Day ceremony in Tehran on Wednesday.
“This is the Americans who have created tension” and endangered the security of the region, he noted.
The remarks by Zarif came a day after US President Donald Trump threatened Iran with “obliteration” amid heightened tensions between the two countries in the wake of Iran’s downing of an intruding US spy drone last week.
On June 20, Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) shot down a US RQ-4A Global Hawk unmanned surveillance drone that had intruded into Iran’s southern skies.
The IRGC said that it had used the domestically-built Khordad 3 air defense system, first unveiled in 2014, to shoot down the sophisticated American drone.
Zarif also criticized Washington for imposing sanctions against Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and his office.
“The US measure of putting the name of the Leader of the Islamic Revolution and persons affiliated with his office on the list of sanctions reveals the fact that they [US officials] are totally unfamiliar with international norms and standards,” he stressed.
Trump signed an executive order in the Oval Office of the White House on Monday that he said will deny the Leader’s office and other Iranian officials access to financial instruments. He also added that the sanctions would have been imposed regardless of the the downing of the US military surveillance drone.
Also asked about a recent statement by Germany, France, and Britain on Tehran’s nuclear activities, Zarif said that the Europeans are not in a position to issue a statement against Iran.
“The European countries have not fulfilled their commitments and so they are not in a position to issue a statement against Iran,” he reiterated.
“The Europeans cannot force us [to do something]; we will take the measures which we consider to be in our interests and now we are acting based on our own plans,” Zarif said.
Europe can make demands only when it has implemented its obligations, he added, criticizing the three European countries for not living up to their commitments under the 2015 Iran nuclear agreement.
On May 8, Iran notified the remaining partners in the nuclear deal that it would suspend the implementation of some of its commitments under the deal as a means of prompting the European side to honor its end of the bargain.
The warning shot saw the country stopping exports of its excess uranium and heavy water for a two-month-long period.
The measure was taken in line with the Islamic Republic’s legal rights under Articles 26 and 36 of the deal, which is officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).
The country also cautioned that it would resume refining uranium to a higher fissile degree in 60 days if Europe continued to fail Tehran.
The JCPOA was signed between Iran and six world powers— namely the US, Germany, France, Britain, Russia and China. Washington, however, left the accord last May, leaving the future of the historic deal in limbo.
Source: Iranian Agencies