Zarif Tells Saudis: Promote Prosperity, Not Terrorism

Zarif Tells Saudis: Promote Prosperity, Not Terrorism  Zarif Tells Saudis: Promote Prosperity, Not Terrorism

Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif called on the Saudi leaders to abandon their policy of spreading terrorism and join efforts to promote prosperity in the region.

Speaking in an interview with RT published on Thursday, Zarif highlighted Saudi Arabia's history of backing extremist groups.

"We're not the ones who supported [former Iraqi dictator] Saddam Hussein, we're not the ones who supported the Taliban ... We're not the ones who supported ISIS [an acronym for the self-styled Islamic State terrorist group] or al-Nusra [Front] ... we're not the ones who are funding extremism throughout the globe," he said

"I think the sooner our Saudi neighbors realize that the snake that they produce, all of the snakes that they have produced in the past 40 years—be it Saddam Hussein, be it the Taliban, be it ISIS—have ended up turning against them."

Zarif stressed that it's time for them to start producing flowers, producing development, producing prosperity rather than producing terrorist organizations and dictators.

Riyadh and Tehran have been supporting opposing sides in Middle East conflicts from Iraq and Syria to Yemen and Lebanon.

Iran has vehemently denied Saudi accusations of interfering in the affairs of Arab states.

A Saudi-led coalition has been conducting indiscriminate airstrikes on Yemen for about two and a half years to restore former fugitive president, Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi, to power.

Zarif denounced the bloody air campaign, saying the coalition has been "basically destroying" Yemen and killing its civilians.

"Now it's a common international fact that Saudis have not refrained from even killing babies and elderly in their indiscriminate bombardment of civilian areas in Yemen for the past 30 months," he said.

"We said from the very beginning that Yemen requires a political settlement, not a military settlement. We're not bombing Yemen, they [Saudi Arabia] are."

***US Animosity

The top diplomat also criticized hawkish US President Donald Trump for resuming animosity and hostility toward Iran.

Commenting about Trump's harsh line against the Islamic Republic and the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, he said, "Unfortunately, the current administration does not use any accepted international behavior to deal with Iran, and what you see from Iran is a reaction to this."

Trump has railed against the landmark nuclear agreement his predecessor Barack Obama and the other five major powers negotiated with Tehran, branding it the "worst deal ever negotiated" without any plausible evidence to back up his claim.

The US president has said he can cancel US participation in the agreement "at any time," and refused to certify Tehran's compliance with the agreement in October.

However, Zarif said if the US pulls out of the deal, it will show the world that it is not a reliable party with which to negotiate.

"This is an international agreement. If they [US] decide to live by their international commitment, it is in their own interest. If they decide to violate their international agreement, first of all they will show to the world that they are not reliable, that nobody can deal or negotiate or reach an agreement with any US president, because the next president may come and basically violate that deal," he said.

"That is not a good signal that they would be sending to the international community, but if they decide to send that signal, then Iran has its options and options are not limited, and I don't think those options will be very pleasant for the United States."


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