Trump loves surprises, so we'll entertain him: FM Zarif

TEHRAN, Feb. 23 (MNA) – Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said Tehran’s response to blunt the impact of US sanctions will come as a ‘surprise’ to US President Donald Trump.

Zarif made the remark in an interview with the Swiss newspaper Basler Zeitungpublished on Thursday, while answering a question on Washington’s efforts to cut down Iran’s oil exports.

He said the effort to exclude Iran from the global oil market is unrealistic, adding that if “our customers decide to bow to American pressure, we have other means.”

When pressed to elaborate on those means, Zarif said “I will not say it. Trump loves the element of surprise, so we will entertain him.”

Zarif then talked about the EU’s trade mechanism for Iran, called INSTEX, saying the mechanism is not one of the commitments that the sides to the nuclear agreement were supposed to implement.

“When the US withdrew from the nuclear agreement, the other sides entered into a series of commitments, which included twelve points. This financial mechanism is not one of them, it is only a prerequisite for the implementation of the promises. The nuclear agreement provides for the normalization of economic relations. A barter trading system like INSTEX is not normalization – it’s rather the opposite.”

He went on to add, “we are ready to live with it, because we do not want to ask too much from our partners in Europe. But INSTEX is, firstly, not yet in operation; secondly the construction took nine months. And thirdly, there must be money in there - money will only be there when there is trade, oil deals, investment in Iran. That's what's needed.”

Asked about how long Iran would remain in the JCPOA despite the undesirable conditions, Zarif said it depends on the will of the Iranian population. He said a recent survey showed 51% of Iranian people supported the country's decision to stay in the agreement, adding “we can not rule against the will of the people.”

MS

News Code 142783

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