Zarif accuses US of waging ‘psychological war’ against Iran

Iranian FM says the US was targeting Iran and its business partners but Washington would not achieve its goals.

Iranian Foreign Minister Zarif speaks to media in Tbilisi
Zarif said the US had not been able to achieve its goal of isolating Iran [David Mdzinarishvili/Reuters]

Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has accused the United States of waging a “psychological war” against Tehran and its business partners.

US sanctions were re-imposed on August 7, just months after US President Donald Trump withdrew from the multilateral Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), also known as the Iran nuclear deal.

“[America’s] focus is on a psychological war against Iran and its business partners,” Javad Zarif said in comments reported on Sunday by the Iranian Tasnim news agency.

The nuclear agreement, which was implemented in 2016, would see Iran reduce its capacity to develop nuclear weapons in exchange for limited sanctions relief.

Its signatories included the US, the European Union (EU), several world powers, and Iran. At the time, it was thought to be one of former US President Barack Obama’s biggest diplomatic achievements.

But despite the US withdrawal, other parties to the accord are trying to find ways to save the agreement.

The EU has vowed to protect companies dealing with Iran and has urged Iran to continue keeping its side of the bargain.

Trump wants a broader deal, which addresses issues such as Iran’s missile programme and its involvement in several Middle Eastern conflicts, such as in Syria and Yemen.

Trump’s decision to withdraw from the accord has hurt the US, said Zarif, according to the Iranian Students’ News Agency (ISNA).

“From the time that Trump announced the withdrawal from the nuclear deal, America has not been able to reach its goals,” said Zarif.

Iran’s foreign minister also said the nuclear deal has led to political conflict within Iran.

“There are some in the country who, instead of laying the groundwork for using the opportunities presented by the nuclear deal, chose a political fight. And this political fight led to despair and disappointment.”

Hardline critics of the deal have lashed out at Iranian President Hassan Rouhani after the US’s withdrawal, claiming the agreement was a form of capitulation.

Source: News Agencies