Iran: It’s Trump, Netanyahu and Saudi prince who are ‘isolated,’ not us
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Iran: It’s Trump, Netanyahu and Saudi prince who are ‘isolated,’ not us

Hours before US sanctions to be re-imposed on Islamic Republic, Foreign Minister Zarif accuses Washington of ‘bullying and political pressure’

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif holds talks with Chinese State Councillor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi (not pictured) at the Diaoyutai state guesthouse in Beijing on May 13, 2018. (AFP Photo/Pool/Thomas Peter)
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif holds talks with Chinese State Councillor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi (not pictured) at the Diaoyutai state guesthouse in Beijing on May 13, 2018. (AFP Photo/Pool/Thomas Peter)

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said Monday that the leaders of the United States, Saudi Arabia and Israel were isolated in their hostility to Iran.

“Today, the entire world has declared they are not in line with US policies against Iran,” Zarif said in a speech, according to the semi-official ISNA news agency.

“Talk to anyone, anywhere in the world and they will tell you that [Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu, [US President Donald] Trump and [Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed] bin Salman are isolated, not Iran,” he said.

Zarif suggested it was hard to imagine negotiating with Trump after he had torn up the 2015 nuclear deal, on which Iran and world powers had spent the “longest hours in negotiating history.”

“Do you think this person (Trump) is a good and suitable person to negotiate with? Or is he just showing off?” Zarif said.

Trump in May pulled the US out of the accord reached between Iran and world powers meant to curb Tehran’s nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief.

US President Donald Trump (right) welcomes Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to the White House on March 5, 2018, in Washington, DC. (AFP Photo/Mandel Ngan)

He has frequently called the pact the “worst deal ever,” and has vowed to negotiate a better one, but Iran has shown no interest in returning to the table and has called on the accord’s remaining partners to stick to it, while also threatening to ramp up its enrichment program again.

With US sanctions set to against Iran set to snap back at midnight on Monday, Zarif acknowledged there were difficult times ahead.

“Of course, American bullying and political pressures may cause some disruption, but the fact is that in the current world, America is isolated,” he said.

US allies Saudi Arabia and Israel are among the only countries to strongly support the re-imposition of American sanctions.

Earlier on Monday, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the new sanctions would be rigorously enforced and would remain in place until the Tehran government radically changes course.

Speaking to reporters aboard his plane on his way home from a three-nation trip to Southeast Asia, Pompeo said the re-imposition of sanctions is an important pillar in US policy toward Iran. He said the Trump administration is open to looking beyond sanctions but that would “require enormous change” from Tehran.

US President Donald Trump and Saudi Crown Prince and Defense Minister Mohammed bin Salman speak to the media in the Oval Office at the White House, on March 14, 2017. (AFP/ Nicholas Kamm)

“We’re hopeful that we can find a way to move forward but it’s going to require enormous change on the part of the Iranian regime,” he said Sunday. “They’ve got to behave like a normal country. That’s the ask. It’s pretty simple.”

Pompeo called the Iranian leadership “bad actors” and said Trump, who has declared his willingness to meet Iran’s leader, is intent on getting them to “behave like a normal country.”

The European Union meanwhile, it said “deeply regretted” the US re-imposition of sanctions, and said the other European parties to the 2015 nuclear agreement — Britain, France and Germany — would work to keep “effective financial channels” open with Iran.

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