Javad Zarif says Iran interested in diplomacy but not in negotiating with US, claims India can play a role in de-escalating tensions in Gulf

  • Hitting out at the US, Javad Zarif said Soleimani was the single biggest threat to Islamic State and his killing was now being celebrated by the terror group and US president Donald Trump

  • India can play a role in de-escalating tensions in the Gulf region as New Delhi is an important player, the Iran forign minister told PTI

  • Referring to the Ukrainian jetliner that crashed earlier this week killing all 176 aboard, Zarif said shooting down of the civilian plane was a mistake.

  • He also said that also said that European powers have violated the 2015 international nuclear deal that was signed between Iran and the P5+1 (China France, Germany, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States)

New Delhi: India can play a role in de-escalating tensions in the Gulf region as New Delhi is an important player, Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif said on Wednesday.

Addressing the gathering at the Raisina Dialogue here, Zarif also said his country was interested in diplomacy, but not in negotiating with the US, remarks that come amid spiralling tensions between the two countries over the killing of Iranian general Qasem Soleimani.

Hitting out at the US, he said Soleimani was the single biggest threat to Islamic State and his killing was now being celebrated by the terror group and US president Donald Trump.

 Javad Zarif says Iran interested in diplomacy but not in negotiating with US, claims India can play a role in de-escalating tensions in Gulf

File photo of Iranian foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif. Reuters

"Who is celebrating Soleimani's killing? President Trump, (US Secretary of State Mike) Pompeo and Daesh (Islamic State). You wonder about strange bedfellows? Not really," he said, adding that Soleimani's killing had showed ignorance and arrogance on the part of the US.

The Iranian foreign minister claimed that 430 Indian cities saw protests and commemorative meetings after Soleimani's killing.

India can play a role in de-escalating tensions in the Gulf region as New Delhi is an important player, Zarif told PTI.

India has been maintaining that it would like the situation to de-escalate as soon as possible and the country has been in touch with key players, including Iran, United Arab Emirates, Oman and Qatar, as it has important interests in the region.

Zarif, in his address, also said that European powers have violated the 2015 international nuclear deal — Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) that was signed between Iran and the P5+1 (China France, Germany, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States).

His remarks came a day after Britain, France and Germany launched a complaint against Iran for non-compliance.

"The future of the nuclear deal depends on Europe. JCPOA was one of the best deals... one of the best multilateral agreements. None of the 11 commitments given to Iran were fulfilled. Not only the US, but also the EU failed to keep those commitments," Zarif said.

The EU is in violation of JCPOA commitments independent of American violations, he said.

"You (EU countries) are independent countries. Why do you let the US bully you? So we triggered the dispute resolution mechanism. Nothing happened. They did not even respond," he said.

"We have said that once Europe reverses, we will reverse too. We have lost hundreds of billions of dollars. If they pay us those hundreds of billions we will reverse our decisions," Zarif said.

Referring to the Ukrainian jetliner that crashed earlier this week killing all 176 aboard, Zarif said shooting down of the civilian plane was a mistake.

"Why did it happen? Because there was a crisis. People make mistakes, unforgivable mistakes, but it happened in the time of the crisis," Zarif said.

Iran's Revolutionary Guard has acknowledged that it accidentally shot down the Ukrainian aircraft.

"We need to create hope in the region. We have to get rid of despair," he said.

Zarif's remarks come amid the global focus being on Iran and the US over the confrontation between them following Soleimani's killing.

Maj Gen Soleimani, the head of Iran's elite al-Quds force, was killed when a US drone fired missiles on his convoy in Iraq on January 3.

Last week, Iran launched over a dozen ballistic missiles targeting at least two bases where US military and coalition forces are stationed in Iraq.

Iran responded in self-defence, Zarif asserted.

The US accused Soleimani of threatening to attack US embassies, but now it is known there was no such threat, he said.

The US wants to get rid of international law and that is why it talks of an international rules-based system, Zarif said.

The US looks at things from their perspective, not from the perspective of this region, he said.

"The US is now negotiating with the Taliban. To do what? To get out of Afghanistan. What has the US brought to Iraq? Stability? For Afghanistan and Iraq, it is their choice. But to use Iraq to mount an attack on an official guest of Iraq? It was an unprovoked attack," Zarif said.

Secretary Pompeo says if Iran wants its people to eat, then it will have to listen to the US and this amounts to a war crime, Zarif said.

"We now need a new coalition against Daesh. We knew where Daesh was standing. We now know where the US is standing," he said.

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Updated Date: Jan 16, 2020 00:13:46 IST