Iran FM lashes US, Israel for sticking to military threat
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Iran FM lashes US, Israel for sticking to military threat

Two days after Khamenei praised his people’s calls for ‘Death to America’ and ‘Death to Israel,’ Zarif says use of force is a ‘dangerous temptation,’ and also ‘illegal and illegitimate’

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif during a press conference, July 15, 2015.  (AFP/ATTA KENARE)
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif during a press conference, July 15, 2015. (AFP/ATTA KENARE)

TEHRAN — Iran’s foreign minister on Monday criticized the United States and Israel for not taking the threat of military action against Tehran off the table following the landmark nuclear deal between Iran and world powers.

The official IRNA news agency quoted Iran’s top diplomat, Mohammad Javad Zarif, as saying the military option remains a very hazardous idea.

“Applying force … is not an option but an unwise and dangerous temptation,” he said. Yet, Zarif added, “there are people who talk about illegal and illegitimate application of force” for their own purposes.

He called the nuclear deal reached last week a “victory of diplomacy over war and violence.”

Zarif did not single out any specific country but his remarks came a day after US Defense Secretary Ash Carter said during a visit to Israel that the accord imposes no limits on what Washington can do to ensure the security of Israel and US Arab allies.

Carter also said the deal “does nothing to prevent … the US military option.”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been harshly critical of the deal, asserting that it clears the way for Iran to build nuclear weapons that would threaten Israel’s existence and ultimately diminish US and global security. He has also strongly hinted that military action remains an option.

Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei speaks in Tehran on July 18, 2015 (Iran Press TV screenshot)
Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei speaks in Tehran on July 18, 2015 (Iran Press TV screenshot)

On Saturday, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei hailed the Iranian masses for demanding the destruction of Israel and America, and said he hoped that God would answer their prayers.

He also castigated America for its support of Israel — which he called the “terrorist, child-killing Zionist regime.” And he said Iran could never engage in discussions or reach an agreement with an America that backed Israel. “Plainly we don’t want war,” Khamenei said. “But if war breaks out, it will be the aggressive, cruel American that loses.”

Also Monday, the UN Security Council is set to endorse the nuclear deal and adopt a series of measures leading to the end of UN sanctions that have hurt the Iranian economy.

Under the agreement, Iran’s nuclear program will be curbed for a decade in exchange for potentially hundreds of billions of dollars’ worth of relief from international sanctions.

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