Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif on Saturday told CBS TV Face the Nation, in an interview to be broadcast Sunday, that if President Donald Trump withdraws from the 2015 nuclear agreement come May 12—the day when the president must waive the nuclear sanctions against Iran or kill the deal—then Iran’s response “would involve resuming at a much greater speed our nuclear activities.”
On the same day, though, Zarif told other reporters in NY, where he is about to attend a UN meeting, that Iran does not plan to build a nuclear bomb.
So, to summarize, should Trump put the Iran sanctions back, Iran will get mad and speed up a nuclear bomb program it does not have.
On Friday, Zarif warned the US that it would “regret” leaving the nuclear deal, because Tehran’s response would be “unpleasant” to America.
“Iran has a wide range of options both inside and outside of the JCPOA and surely, the reaction from Iran and the international community will be ‘unpleasant’ for the Americans,” Zarif said, according to Iran’s propaganda channel, Press TV.
The inherent inconsistency in the foreign minister’s comments has to do with the deal Iran would still have with France, Britain, Russia and China and Germany, who also signed the nuclear agreement in July 2015. If it goes back to working on its nuclear program, won’t this necessarily mean walking out on its pact with those countries?
There’s also the matter of five individuals with a US and Iranian dual-citizenship who are being held hostage by Iranian authorities. Last February, the Wall Street Journal reported that the Trump administration had secretly reached out to Iran in December to propose a direct channel to negotiate the release an exchange of prisoners held by each side. Now Zarif told CBS News US must first exhibit a “change of attitude” and “language” if it hopes to see the hostages be released.
“You do not engage in negotiations by exercising disrespect for a country, for its people, for its government, by openly making claims, including this illusion about regime change,” Zarif told Margaret Brennan of Face the Nation.
Back in 2016, on the very day of the implementation of the nuclear deal, the Obama administration released seven Iranians in exchange for four dual-nationality American hostages imprisoned in Iran, and secretly transferred $400 million in cash to Iran. Then presidential candidate Donald Trump called the gesture a “disgrace” and said the money was paid as ransom.