News ID: 264930
Published: 1233 GMT January 27, 2020

Zarif rebuffs Trump's call for direct talks as 'wishful thinking'

Zarif rebuffs Trump's call for direct talks as 'wishful thinking'

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif slammed US President Donald Trump’s call for direct talks with Iran as “wishful thinking,” insisting that the only venue for talks with Tehran would be “at the P5+1 table."

"@realdonaldtrump is still dreaming about a bilateral meeting—to satisfy HIS lust for a "Trump deal". It’s wishful thinking. The only possible venue for talks is at the P5+1 table—which HE left—reverting to pre-2017, AND compensating Iran for damages,” Zarif wrote in Twitter post late Sunday night, referring to the international nuclear negotiations between Iran and six world states, including the US.

The tweet followed an earlier post by Iran’s top diplomat, mocking Trump for purportedly rejecting what he falsely interpreted as Zarif’s call for bilateral talks with Washington on the condition of lifting brutal US sanctions against Iran.

Urging Trump to base his foreign policy decisions on “facts” rather than biased news headlines of his favorite right-wing Fox News TV outlet, or his Farsi translators.

He then advised the hawkish US president to read his entire interview with the German-based Der Spiegel magazine “to be better informed.”

The Twitter post came in response to Trump’s tweet – written in both Farsi and English – earlier in the day in which he claimed the Iranian foreign minister wanted to “negotiate” with Washington and “sanctions removed.” He then rejected the purported request by writing: “No Thanks!”

In his first Sunday tweet, the top Iranian diplomat also posted an excerpt from his Friday interview with Der Spiegel, in which he was asked about the possibility of negotiations after the US assassination of Iran’s prominent anti-terror commander General Qassem Soleimani.

Zarif responded by reiterating that the Trump administration could lift the sanctions that it had reimposed on Iran after scrapping the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), and then come back to the negotiating table.

"No, I never rule out the possibility that people will change their approach and recognize the realities. For us, it doesn’t matter who is sitting in the White House. What matters is how they behave," he said.

"The Trump administration can correct its past, lift the sanctions and come back to the negotiating table. We’re still at the negotiating table. They’re the ones who left. The US has inflicted great harm on the Iranian people. The day will come when they will have to compensate for that. We have a lot of patience."

The JCPOA was signed between Iran and six world states – namely the US, Germany, France, Britain, Russia and China – in 2015. It was also ratified in the form of a UN Security Council resolution.

However, Washington’s unilateral withdrawal in May 2018 and subsequent reimposition of anti-Iran sanctions left the future of the nuclear deal in limbo.


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