Iran’s Zarif accuses Israel, US of seeking war
Vice-President Pence on Friday accused Iran of Nazi-like anti-Semitism, maintaining his harsh rhetoric against Tehran just a day he attacked European powers for trying to undermine U.S. sanctions on the Islamic Republic.
Zarif said the U.S. had an “unhealthy” and “pathological obsession” with Iran and accused Pence of trying to bully his allies.
“All in the name of containing Iran, the U.S. claims, and some blindly parrot, that it is Iran that is interfering in the region, but has it been asked whose region?” Zarif said.
“Look at the map, the U.S. military has traveled 10,000 kilometers to dot all our borders with its bases. There is a joke that it is Iran that put itself in the middle of U.S. bases.”
Zarif, who said Iran was committed to the 2015 nuclear deal with world powers for now, also accused France, Britain and Germany of not doing enough to ensure Tehran received the economic benefits of that accord.
These three countries this month set up the Instrument In Support Of Trade Exchanges (INSTEX), a new channel for non-dollar trade with Iran to avoid U.S. sanctions. But diplomats say it is unlikely to allow the big transactions that Tehran says it needs to keep a nuclear deal afloat.
Washington’s major European allies opposed last year’s decision by U.S. President Donald Trump to abandon the deal, which also includes China and Russia, under which international sanctions on Iran were lifted in return for Tehran accepting curbs on its nuclear program.
“INSTEX falls short of commitments by the E3 (France, Germany, Britain) to save the nuclear deal,” Zarif said. “Europe needs to be willing to get wet if it wants to swim against the dangerous tide of U.S. unilateralism.”
Also speaking at the Munich Security Conference, Saudi Arabian Prince Turki Al-Faisal suggested the foreign minister’s words were hypocritical when looking at what Iran is doing in the region.
“They have to reform their conduct before people can accept them as positive players in the world,” he told CNBC’s Hadley Gamble.
Meanwhile, Ian Bremmer, the president and founder of Eurasia Group, believes there is an arms race going on in the region.
“I mean the Saudis of course are spending the most on their defense but the UAE (United Arab Emirates) is ramping up as well, the Iranians are ramping up. It’s going to be more challenging (for Iran) with the recession they are having this year. But still, the defense contractors should be happy in this environment, that’s true all over the world,” he told CNBC in Munich.