Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif met at the end of September with American media figure Charlie Rose for an interview hosted by the Asia Society in New York, with the senior regime official claiming that comments by US President Donald Trump in his maiden speech at the UN General Assembly indicated a lack of commitment on Washington’s part to the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) nuclear deal. Zarif further claimed that Trump’s remarks were a violation of the terms of the nuclear deal
Zarif told Rose, “The agreement has been reached. Now the US wants to decide whether to withdraw or stay. The US must make a strategic decision and show the international community whether they are a trustworthy partner or not. Those who negotiate with this country must consider the commitment of the next government to the agreements in the next four years. There are many agreements and treaties not adopted by the American Congress, but JCPOA is not one of them, rather it is a Security Council resolution.”
Zarif said that the Tehran regime has yet to decide on its response if President Trump decides to withdraw from the JCPOA deal, saying, “We will make the right decision based on the circumstances.”
On the subject of the Iranian regime’s relations with Saudi Arabia, the foreign minister said that Saudi Arabia plays an influential role in the region, claiming that Iran respects this and is not about to disregard the kingdom. In return, he asserted, Saudi Arabia must forget its “delusion” of removing Tehran from the Arab states. “To the former foreign minister of Saudi Arabia, I said ‘Iran is ready for regional cooperation’, and in response, he said ‘The Arab region is none of your concern,’ Zarif claimed, adding, “But I answered that it is related to us, because we are in the same region and must work together for its security.”
When asked about Iran’s missile program, Zarif evaded the question, talking instead about Iran’s supposedly miniscule weapons budget compared to that of Saudi Arabia and the UAE. “Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates spent 67 and 14 billion dollars on buying weapons respectively. Iran’s defensive budget is 6 billion dollars,” he responded.