Iran’s foreign minister dismissed US President Donald Trump’s assertion Tuesday that the reimposition of sanctions on the country is aimed at achieving “world peace,” and said US threats to cut off trade with nations that do business with the Islamic Republic would rebound like a boomerang.
Mohammed Javad Zarif’s response came as a first round of sanctions on Iran took effect as part of the US withdrawal from the 2015 international accord meant to limit the Iranian nuclear program.
“Tantrums & CAPPED TWEETS won’t change the fact that the world is sick & tired of US unilateralism,” Zarif wrote on Twitter, referring to Trump’s dramatic warning to Iran last month not to threaten the US.
“Stopping US trade and killing 100K US jobs is fine with us, but the world won’t follow impulsive tweeted diktats. Just ask EU, Russia, China & dozens of our other trading partners,” added Zarif.
The United Kingdom, France, Germany, Russia, and China, all of which signed the nuclear deal, have condemned Trump’s decision to exit the agreement and reintroduce sanctions.
Zarif also took a swipe at Trump’s pre-presidential career, saying world affairs were not a “beauty pageant.”
“Reminder: International relations is not a beauty pageant, with tired clichés about a desire for WORLD PEACE. And it is not the first time that a warmonger claims he is waging war for ‘world peace,'” he wrote.
The new sanctions, enacted under an executive order signed by Trump, target financial transactions that involve US dollars, Iran’s automotive sector, the purchase of commercial planes, and metals including gold.
More US sanctions targeting Iran’s oil sector and central bank are to be reimposed in early November.
In an early-morning tweet, Trump said the reimposition of sanctions means “anyone doing business with Iran will NOT be doing business with the United States.”
“I am asking for WORLD PEACE, nothing less!”
The stiff economic sanctions ratchet up pressure on the Islamic Republic despite statements of deep dismay from European allies, three months after Trump pulled the US out of the international accord limiting Iran’s nuclear activities.
Trump declared the landmark 2015 agreement had been “horrible,” leaving the Iranian government flush with cash to fuel conflict in the Middle East.
Iran accused the US of reneging on the nuclear agreement, signed by the Obama administration, and of causing recent Iranian economic unrest. European allies said they “deeply regret” the US action.
As the sanctions loomed Monday, Trump said in a statement, “We urge all nations to take such steps to make clear that the Iranian regime faces a choice: either change its threatening, destabilizing behavior and reintegrate with the global economy, or continue down a path of economic isolation.”
Trump warned that those who don’t wind down their economic ties to Iran “risk severe consequences.”
The Europeans didn’t like any of it.
Despite Trump’s claims, the accord “is working and delivering on its goal” of limiting Iran’s nuclear program, said a statement by European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini and the foreign ministers of France, Germany and the United Kingdom.
A senior administration official, briefing reporters under ground rules requiring anonymity, said the United States is “not particularly concerned” by EU efforts to protect European firms from the sanctions.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said that Iran still can rely on China and Russia to keep its oil and banking sectors afloat. Speaking in a television interview, he also demanded compensation for decades of American “intervention” in the Islamic Republic.
Months of uncertainty surrounding the sanctions have already further hurt Iran’s economy. The country’s rial currency has tanked, and the downturn has sparked protests across the nation.
The “Trump Administration wants the world to believe it’s concerned about the Iranian people,” Zarif said on Twitter Monday. But, he said, the reimposed sanctions would endanger “ordinary Iranians.”
“US hypocrisy knows no bounds,” he said.
US officials have insisted the American government stands with the people of Iran and supports many of their complaints against their own government.
National security adviser John Bolton said Iran’s leadership is on “very shaky ground,” but he insisted economic pressure from the Trump administration is not an attempt at “regime change.”
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said sanctions are an important pillar in US policy toward Iran and will remain in place until the Iranian government radically changes course.
“They’ve got to behave like a normal country. That’s the ask. It’s pretty simple,” said Pompeo, en route Sunday from a three-nation trip to Southeast Asia.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the sanctions symbolize “the determination to block Iran’s regional aggression as well as its continuous plans to arm itself with nuclear weapons.”
He called on the countries of Europe to join the US, saying, “The time has come to stop talking; the time has come to do.”
The US has long designated Iran as the world’s foremost state sponsor of terrorism, Pompeo noted Sunday, adding that the Islamic Republic cannot expect to be treated as an equal in the international community until it halts such activities.
He said that “there’s no evidence today of a change in their behavior,” and in the meantime “we’re going to enforce the sanctions.”
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