In the three-minute long video posted to YouTube on Tuesday, Zarif calls sanctions reimposed by the Trump administration on Monday “unlawful” and “fundamentally flawed.”
The video was released less than a day after the formerly lifted sanctions were reinstated, targeting the country’s banking, energy and transport sectors, and just hours after Iranian banks were suspended from accessing the global SWIFT financial messaging system.
Iran has faced “forty years of American hostility” and the nation’s global allies “will ensure that our people are least affected by this indiscriminate assault” and the “economic warfare” waged by the US against the Iranian people, Zarif says.
Zarif also called out the US’ “discredited addiction to unilateralism and sanctions” as tools of statecraft, which he said was pushing Washington into “global isolation.” Washington, he continued, would be better off “addressing the catastrophes and crises it has engineered” in the Middle East.
“Where to begin?” the foreign minister asks before reeling off a list of Washington-led disasters in the region. In Afghanistan, the US “created Al-Qaeda to fight the Soviets.” Later in Iraq, he said, the US supported Saddam Hussein “including his use of chemical weapons against Iran” and then later invaded Iraq “to supposedly rid Saddam of those very weapons of mass destruction.”
Zarif also cited “unconditional” US support for Saudi Arabia and Israel, which it said “blinds the US to their appalling atrocities that have resulted in global indignation.”
“Taking a long, hard look at its own wrong choices and changing its approach from the failed one it has stubbornly followed for decades, instead of prescribing behavioral changes for Iran, will be far more effective in bringing about resolutions to conflicts…”
Referencing the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) deal struck under former President Barack Obama, which gave Iran some sanctions relief, Zarif said that while Trump’s predecessors “began crafting their Iran policy with similar bravado” they “came around to accepting and respecting the reality of Iran as they became more experienced in office.”
#Iran's Foreign Minister @JZarif schools the #Trump administration with a dose of reality and basically tells it to stick it's sanctions up its ass. There is no doubt that Zarif dwarfs Trump when it comes to statesmanship & charisma. pic.twitter.com/003rH1lXUX
— Walid (@walid970721) November 6, 2018
While Zarif’s comments are fairly standard rhetoric from Iran, the country does not frequently release such targeted video messages, indicating that Tehran is ready and willing to battle Trump on sanctions for as long as is necessary.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Monday told Iran to “act like a normal country, or see its economy crumble” and said the aim of the sanctions was to “fundamentally alter” Tehran’s behavior. He also warned of “swift punishment” for other countries who decide to continue doing business with Iran.
On Tuesday, the foreign ministers of Russia and Spain slammed US sanctions against Iran at a joint press conference in Madrid.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said the sanctions were “absolutely illegitimate” and were being imposed “in flagrant violation” of a decision by the UN Security Council, while Spanish Foreign Minister Josep Borrell said that Spain rejects “any kind of position that resembles an ultimatum from anyone and also from the United States.”.