In this interview with the Associated Press news agency, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif is asked first for his reaction to a statement on Twitter by US President Donald Trump from September 23, in which Trump referred contemptuously to the nuclear deal with Iran, saying, ‘Iran just test-fired a Ballistic Missile capable of reaching Israel. They are also working with North Korea. Not much of an agreement we have!’
Zarif responds to the journalist’s question, saying, “I believe we need to check our facts before we make statements.”
The reporter then asks him, “Does it worry you that the US President is making claims about missile tests that may or may not have happened to argue against the nuclear deal?”
The Iranian FM replies, “Well it worries me that people play with facts and produce alternative facts.”
The journalist next asks Zarif, “What is your reaction to the latest travel ban?”
He responds, “It is unfortunate that for irrelevant political reasons, the President of the United States decides to alienate an entire nation and antagonize an entire nation, who have not harmed anybody.”
The interview then moves to a section where Zarif is discussing Iran’s and other members of the P5+1 group’s rejection of Washington’s demands for further negotiations over the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) nuclear deal, saying, “Well you see, first of all, it’s not just Iran that is rejecting renegotiation. I think it was the unanimous view of all who negotiated the nuclear deal that renegotiation of this deal is impossible – it would open a Pandora’s Box… The message that the United States is sending to the world that whenever you negotiate with the United States, whatever you agree in the course of the negotiations and take for granted, they’ll then come back to you, in five months, in six months, in a year, in two years, to ask for whatever they could not get in the first round. This is not a good message to send to the world. This will prove that the United States is not a reliable negotiation partner, and for a power like the United States to prove to the world that it is not a reliable negotiating partner is not good for international peace and security… It took us ten years of posturing, on all sides, and two years of serious negotiations to reach this deal – I don’t expect that a new round will produce any better result. In fact, a new round will get us into a quagmire that nobody will be able to get out of… What is important is, if the deal is broken, then Iran has many options, one of which would be to have an unlimited but yet peaceful nuclear energy program.”
The interview ends with Zarif pictured shaking hands with the journalists involved.