Trump Aides, Regional Allies Dragging US Into Iran Conflict: Zarif

TEHRAN — Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif says hawkish politicians within the American government and their allies in the Middle East want to escalate tensions with Tehran.

In an interview with Fox News set to air on Sunday, Zarif accused US National Security Adviser John Bolton as well as Israel, Saudi Arabia and the UAE of “dragging the US into a conflict” with Iran. 

Asked if the group is trying to exercise a government change in Iran, Zarif replied, “At least, at least.”

“They have all shown an interest in dragging the United States into a conflict. I do not believe that President Trump wants to do that, I believe President Trump ran on a campaign promise of not bringing the United States into another war.

“But I believe President Trump’s intention to put pressure, the policy of maximum pressure on Iran in order to bring Iran to its knees so that we would succumb to pressure, is doomed to failure,” he added.

Earlier this week, the White House targeted Iran’s oil sector, ending six months of waivers which allowed Tehran’s eight largest customers, most of them in Asia, to continue importing limited volumes.

Washington threatened the buyers of Iranian oil with sanctions if they fail to stop their purchases by May 1, in a move that quickly sent global crude prices to their highest levels since last November.

The White House said the decision is meant to “bring Iran’s oil exports to zero” and deny the government “its principal source of revenue.”

Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei emphasized that the US administration’s hostile attempts to block Iran’s oil sales would lead nowhere, and that the country would export “as much crude as it needs and wishes.”

On Wednesday, Foreign Minister Zarif stressed that the Islamic Republic — which has been the target of American sanctions for decades — has gained much experience in going around such restrictive measures.

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The sanctions were lifted under a 2015 multilateral nuclear deal with Iran, but they were renewed year after US President Donald Trump abandoned the landmark agreement — officially called the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

 

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