Zairf vows US 'will pay' for its 'act of war'

TEHRAN, Jan. 07 (MNA) – Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif says the United States "will pay" for its actions and must "be prepared for the consequences" in the wake of the martyrdom of Lt. Gen. Qassem Soleimani, the Chief of IRGC Quds Force who was assassinated by an American airstrike in Iraq last week.

In a sit-down interview with Zarif in Tehran on Tuesday, ABC News Chief Global Affairs Correspondent Martha Raddatz asked, "Are you concerned that a strong response from Iran will end in an all-out war?"

"That depends on the United States," Zarif said. "The United States took an act of war against Iran; it will have to be prepared for the consequences. Then it will have to decide whether it wants to get itself into a quagmire or whether it wants to stop."

Zarif said his country is a "very patient" one and will take action "after necessary deliberation" and "at a time of our choosing." He added that Iran will announce and claim responsibility for whatever counteraction it decides to take.

"The United States committed three great mistakes, and they will pay for all three mistakes," Zarif said. "The first mistake was they violated the Iraqi sovereignty and territorial integrity, and because of that they received a response from the Iraqis -- they cancelled their agreement, which the United States had already violated by not informing the Iraqis."

"Second," he continued, "they had the emotions of a large number of people from India to Russia, not to mention Iran, Iraq. The popular reaction to that I think will be the end of US presence in this region, and that would be a very high price to pay for the adventurism of a couple people. Third, they killed and claimed responsibility for murdering in a 'terrorist' operation one of our highest ranking generals in a foreign territory. The government of Iran is responsible for protecting the lives of its citizens and its officials, and so it's obvious that we will respond."

As for the JCOA negotiated by the international community with Iran and signed under then-US President Barack Obama in July 2015, Zarif said his country is "entitled to take certain remedial measures and we did that."

"As soon as Europe recognizes its own interest and decides to stand up for its own interest, we can reverse all of the measures we have taken," Zarif said. "The deal is in a very difficult situation, but the deal can be maintained and must be maintained."

Zarif said the American government "has been compounding mistake upon mistake," and that US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo Pompeo "is a personification of [the] mixture of arrogance and ignorance."

"The US has already started paying for its crimes in Iraq, in the region and in Iran," Zarif said. "I think before making more mistakes, before compounding the mistakes that they already have, the current US regime has to acknowledge that they have adopted the wrong policy, that their policy was based on basically ignorance. Arrogance and ignorance when combined, it's [a] disaster, and this is what's happening in the United States."


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