RNA - In an interview with Russia’s RT television network published on Tuesday, Zarif warned Europe that “a bully’s appetite will only grow if they see no reaction.”
“The Europeans must know that the appetite of the US for breaking international law – whenever and wherever it serves them – will not stop at the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA),” he said, referring to the nuclear accord by its official name.
“All of us, when we went to primary school or high school, we had bullies in our class. And bullies would not stop if people just look at them while they beat up another student. Once they beat up the first student, they go after the second, and the third, and the fourth,” he added.
He emphasized, however, that Iran does not depend on the nuclear deal and is self-reliant enough to survive without it as the country has already experienced 40 years of living under pressure.
We “will build our future with or without the JCPOA,” Zarif said, emphasizing that the pact is “an important achievement that should not be destroyed,” but its demise – however regrettable – would be “a blow to diplomacy, not a blow to Iran.”
The JCPOA was signed between Iran and six world states — namely the US, Germany, France, Britain, Russia and China — in 2015 and endorsed by UN Security Council Resolution 2231.
Washington, however, left the accord abruptly last May, leaving the future of the historic deal in limbo.
Critical of Washington’s move, the European parties to the JCPOA vowed efforts to keep the accord in place by protecting Tehran against the US sanctions, but did little in practice.
In response, Tehran began reducing its commitments under the JCPOA on a stage-by-stage basis in May under Articles 26 and 36 of the deal — which cover Tehran’s contractual rights — in an effort to make Europe live up to its side of the bargain.
Two phases of such commitment reductions have already been carried out and the third is due on Thursday. Tehran, however, says those countermeasures are reversible as soon as Europe begins honoring its obligations under the JCPOA.
As the Thursday deadline draws near, the Europeans — led by France — have been scrambling to satisfy Iran’s demands and persuade it to stay in the deal.
Paris has been involved in high-level talks with Tehran in the hope of helping keep the JCPOA alive and ease tensions between Iran and the US, which have been on the rise since Washington’s exit from the deal.
‘No talks under pressure’Elsewhere in his interview, Zarif highlighted the offers of Iran-US talks from both Washington and other states, including France, stressing, “We will never negotiate under pressure, we will never negotiate with the knowledge that the outcome of these negotiations will only last for one presidency.”
Last week, French President Emmanuel Macron expressed hopes for a meeting between President Hassan Rouhani of Iran and his American counterpart, Donald Trump, “in the next few weeks.”
According to Press TV, Rouhani, however, rejected any such bilateral talks, urging the US to lift all its cruel sanctions and begin respecting the nation’s rights as a “first step” towards dialog.
‘Era of global hegemony over’
Zarif further pointed to the US’s hostile economic policies targeting Russia and China besides Iran
He also predicted that Washington’s weaponization of its economy and animosity towards Russia and China would spell “the demise of American economic might.”
“We believe that the era of global hegemony is gone,” he said.