Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif told Reuters on Wednesday that he did not believe President Donald Trump wants war with Iran, his close associates are luring him into such a confrontation (Exclusive: Iran’s Zarif believes Trump does not want war, but could be lured into conflict).
“I don’t think he wants war,” Zarif, who was interviewed in Iranian’s UN mission in New York City, told Reuters, adding, “But that doesn’t exclude him being basically lured into one.”
Zarif named two such “influencers”: Trump’s national security adviser John Bolton, and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. “Those who have designed the policies that are being pursued do not simply want a negotiated solution,” Zarif said, insisting that “Iran is not seeking confrontation, but will not escape defending itself.”
Zarif added a paranoid note to the interview when he warned that some people could “plot an accident” that would trigger a crisis leading to war.
Regarding Israel’s focus on removing Iranian and Iranian satellite forces from Syria, Zarif said Iran would remain “vigilant” in Syria, and “will not simply abandon […] that fight.”
Mohammad Javad Zarif Khonsari, 59, has served as Iran’s foreign minister since 2013. He is a visiting professor at the School of International Relations and University of Tehran, teaching diplomacy and international organizations. He was Iran’s Permanent Representative to the UN from 2002 to 2007.
Zarif led the Iranian negotiation with P5+1 countries which produced the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action on July 14, 2015 and resulted in the lifting of economic sanctions against Iran on January 16, 2016. Zarif then resigned from his post as foreign minister, but his resignation was rejected by President Rouhani and he continues to serve as foreign minister.