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Iran’s Javad Zarif: ‘The US is addicted to sanctions’

Iranian Foreign Minister Zarif says Iran could withdraw from the nuclear deal in the event of US breaches.

In an heated speech at the United Nations General Assembly last month, US President Donald Trump described the landmark nuclear deal between Tehran and Western powers as “one of the worst and most one-sided transactions” in the history of the US.

“Frankly, that deal is an embarrassment to the United States and I don’t think you have heard the last of it,” he said.

Responding to Trump, Iran’s Foreign Minister Javad Zarif told Al Jazeera’s Abderrahim Foukara the nuclear deal was a result of years of negotiations.

“I think it is an ill-informed statement because, certainly, any deal would not be a perfect deal for all sides; it has to be less than perfect so all sides can live with it,” Zarif said, warning that the international community could never trust the US again if it violated the deal. 

On threats by the US Republican party to slap more sanctions on his country, Zarif said: “The United States has had a policy of imposing sanctions on Iran for the past 40 years. Basically, they have immunised us to US sanctions. But from a global perspective, it seems that the United States is addicted to sanctions … they have an obsession. They believe that sanctions do work. In fact, I think they should’ve learned by now that sanctions don’t work. You cannot impose pressure on countries to abandon their sovereignty, to abandon their dignity for a few restrictions that the United States has imposed on them.

“I think the sooner the United States realises that this type of behaviour, this type of policies bound to backfire and its bound to create resistance and strengthen the resolve of the people to pursue their own policies and their own interests. The sooner the United States achieves this important recognition of reality, the sooner it can adjust its policies in a way that would even serve the interests of the United States better.”

Zarif also addressed his country’s strained relationship with Saudi Arabia, saying there was a willingness in Tehran to initiate a rapprochement. “We are willing to talk to Saudi Arabia about our difference … We do not believe that Iran and Saudi Arabia should have the type of relationship they have right now,” he said.

Zarif also discussed geopolitical changes going in the Middle East, including efforts by Kurds to create an independent state in Iraq, the siege of Qatar and the rivalry between Iran and Saudi Arabia.