US Should Break Old Habit of Making Threats

US Should Break Old Habit of Making ThreatsUS Should Break Old Habit of Making Threats

The foreign minister said US officials had better abandon their "old habit" of threatening to apply military force against the Iranian people.

"It would be better for the Americans to give up once and for all their old habit of using the language of threat and sanctions against the great [Iranian] nation," IRNA quoted Mohammad Javad Zarif as saying on Friday.

He was responding to remarks by US Secretary of State John Kerry at the Council on Foreign Relations on Iran on Friday, who said the military option against Tehran is still open as a last resort.

"So we would have ample time to be able to respond if we had to, first with more sanctions, second with ultimatums, and third with the possibility of the military option if that's what it really came down to," Kerry said.

"War should be the last resort, not the first," he stressed, according to a transcript of his remarks posted on the website of the US Department of State.

Kerry is well aware that these "empty" threats against the nation are ineffective, Zarif said, adding that such conduct, while common in the last century, is no longer acceptable as it is against international law.

"(Kerry) himself and other US officials have repeatedly acknowledged that such threats have had no impact on the resolve of the Iranian people and they have backfired."

Kerry answered to a question as to whether he ever asked the Iranians not to chant slogans against the US now that they are being integrated back into the international community.

"Yes, to the last. And I also told them that their chants of 'Death to America' and so forth are neither helpful and they're pretty stupid and so we absolutely discussed those things," he answered.

***Well-Founded Grievances   

Zarif said, "During the (nuclear) negotiations, I frequently emphasized to Mr. Kerry that the people of Iran are reasonable and honorable and do not strongly react to others' actions without a reason."

About 20 months of talks between Iran and the United States, along with five other major powers, namely Britain, France, Germany, Russia and China, led to a historic deal that will give Tehran relief from sanctions in return for it agreeing to temporary limitations on its nuclear program.

"The reason for the wave of anger among the Iranian nation is US policies on Iran over the past 60 years" and its hostile moves such as supporting former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein in the1980-1988 Iran-Iraq War, which he imposed on Iran, and leveling unfounded accusations against Tehran over its nuclear work, Zarif explained.

"Regrettably, in his remarks, Mr. Kerry mixed up the terms of the Joint Comprehensive plan of Action (the official name of the deal) and those of UNSC Resolution 2231."

As negotiated under the accord, the United Nations adopted the resolution on July 20 to endorse it.

"The text of the JCPOA clearly states that the provisions of the resolution are not considered part of those of the JCPOA," Zarif said.


"We have the ability to snap back all of the sanctions and again what we negotiated is a unique arrangement where one nation alone – say, the United States, if we're not happy, we can go to the Security Council and we alone can force a vote on the snapping back of those sanctions and the vote is already structured in the UN resolution that was passed the other day as a reverse vote," Kerry said.

Zarif reiterated Iran's stance that it never will stop backing its regional allies, saying Iran's regional policy and its support for its allies "has nothing to do" with the nuclear pact.

"The policy the Islamic Republic of Iran has been pursuing on regional issues and its relations with the US is completely clear.

Government officials, alongside the personnel of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps and the Army, are following the same policy within the framework of instructions by the Leader of the Islamic Revolution."

Attempts to create division among Iranian officials are, as ever, doomed to failure, the top diplomat said.

Zarif was referring to Kerry's claim that according to the US intelligence community, the IRGC is "wholly" against the deal and was struggling to prevent it all along the negotiations.

"Zarif did say to me – first of all, he did not have a portfolio to negotiate (regional) issues, and I tried very hard to raise them on many occasions. But he did not have that portfolio. But both President Rouhani and Foreign Minister Zarif have made it clear that, with the (nuclear) agreement, they are prepared to discuss the regional issues," Kerry said.