Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif accuses US of ‘state terrorism’

Zarif said the Trump administration’s decision to abandon the nuclear deal Tehran brokered with world powers and adopt sweeping policies against Iran was “destroying stability” in the Middle East, and he said. warned of the worst to come if the United States did not change course.

“This is an act of aggression against Iran and amounts to an armed attack on Iran, and we will respond. But we will respond proportionally and not disproportionately,” he said. “We will respond legally, we are not lawless people like President Trump.”

Zarif was referring to a tweet sent by Trump on Saturday in which the president said that if Iran hits Americans or American assets, the United States has 52 Iranian sites targeted — a reference to the number of Americans taken hostage during the 1979 revolution — “some at a very high level and important to Iran and Iranian culture”, he wrote.

Iran’s top diplomat said the comments showed Trump “has no respect for international law and is prepared to commit war crimes – attacking cultural sites is a war crime.”

The interview came as Iran’s parliament unanimously voted for a motion declaring all US forces as “terrorists” on Tuesday, according to Iran’s IRNA news agency. The vote took place during the country’s parliamentary session on Tuesday, IRNA reported. Once the plan was approved, the delegates chanted “Death to America”.

Tensions between Iran and the United States have escalated since Qasem Soleimani, the leader of Iran’s powerful Quds Force, was killed on Friday.

Footage from inside Iran showed streets filled with mourners dressed in black to bid farewell to Soleimani, who was revered as a hero and is now celebrated as a martyr. Iranian state television said millions of people attended his funeral, although this figure has not been verified.

“President Trump, after observing the crowd yesterday, needs to stop threatening these people who will be further infuriated by his threats — his threats will not scare us,” Zarif said.

He added: “A war was started a long time ago by the United States, the United States destroyed the stability in this region, the United States undermined the security in this region.”

Zarif was a key player in the negotiations that led to the 2015 nuclear deal known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

As part of the deal, the Iranian government agreed to strict limits on its nuclear program in exchange for economic sanctions relief. Trump withdrew the United States from the deal in 2018, arguing it was too soft on Tehran, and re-enacted punitive measures that have strangled Iran’s economy.

Zarif claimed that by leaving the deal, Trump had thrown the Middle East into chaos.

“What’s important is that the Trump regime realizes that everything in this region was improving after the JCPOA,” Zarif said.

“We saw normal elections in Iraq, normal elections in Lebanon…we had a reduction in tensions in Syria…what happened? The United States launched a campaign of maximum pressure, terrorizing the Iranian people, even making it difficult for Iranians to obtain food and medicine.”

Thelma J. Longworth