Iranian foreign minister said on Saturday that what the US is doing is extortion, not Iran’s moves on the 2015 nuclear deal.
Iran’s top diplomat made the comments a day after the US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo pressed European nations to stop what he claimed Iran's "extortion" after Tehran again reduced its commitments under the nuclear deal in response to US sanctions.
"We are confident that the UK, France and Germany – Indeed, all civilized nations – will take decisive actions to stop Iran's nuclear extortion," Pompeo, who visited the European Union headquarters in Brussels earlier in the week, wrote on Twitter.
“Is it violating a UN resolution & punishing anyone observing it?” Zarif said in his tweet, referring to the US violation of the UN Security Council Resolution 2231, which endorses the JCPOA from which the US withdrew last year.
But the Iranian foreign minister responded to the Pompeo’s comments, saying that, “What exactly is EXTORTION, @SecPompeo?”.
“Is it violating a UN resolution & punishing anyone observing it? Offering bribes for theft of oil & designating those who refuse?, Zarif twitted on Saturday.
On bribes, he was referring to a recent move by US Special Representative for Iran Affairs, Brian Hook, who tried to bribe the captain of an Iranian tanker illegally detained by Britain last month to pilot the vessel to a country which could seize it on behalf of the US.
“Maybe it’s demanding Iran’s submission or its people starve? Or, is it lawful remedial measures under JCPOA?” the Iranian foreign minister added, referring to an earlier claim by Pompeo that if Iran “wants its people to eat” it must listen to the US.
Tensions between Tehran and Washington have deteriorated in recent months following the US unilateral withdrawal from the 2015 nuclear deal and reimposition of sanctions against Iran.