Not interested in negotiating with US: Iran Minister

New Delhi, Jan 15
Iran Foreign Minister Javed Zarif on Wednesday said that though Tehran was interested in diplomacy, it wasnt keen on negotiating with the US.


Zarif was alluding to the ongoing tensions between America and Iran following the Trump administration's targeted killing of Iranian Revolutionary Guard and Intelligence chief General Qassem Soleimani early this month.

The top diplomat was speaking at the Raisina Dialogue organized by India's biggest and most influential think tank, Observer Research Foundation.

He is on a three-day visit to India and likely to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi and other top ministers and officials. India has offered to mediate and supported the deescalation of tensions between Washington DC and Tehran.

"Iran is interested in diplomacy. But we are not interested in negotiating with the US. The US did not keep its commitments under the nuclear deal. The US broke it. If we have a deal with President Trump, how long will it last," Zarif said in an agitated tone.

Lashing out at the Trump administration for killing Soleimani, whom he described as ISIS's strongest opponent in Iran, Zarif said: "Who is celebrating Soleimani's death? President Donald Trump, secretary Mike Pompeo and Daesh (ISIS). We knew where Daesh stood, now we know where the US stands."

The "killing of Qasem Soleimani, he said, "shows ignorance and arrogance" of the US.

Zarif claimed that people in "430 cities of India" protested against the killing, adding that "it demonstrated that Iran has support across the world".

Zarif acknowledged that the Sayyid Ali Hosseini Khamenei-led government in Tehran had made a mistake and "lied to" its people about the Ukrainian plane crash.

"In the last few nights, we've had people in the streets of Tehran demonstrating against the fact that they were lied to for a couple of days," Zarif said.

He immediately added that even he and President Hassan Rouhani were not aware of the fact that they had shot down the plane. They learned about it only two days later, he said.

Hundred and seventy-six people comprising around 70 Canadians were killed when Tehran accidentally shot down the Ukrainian plane following the air strike against Soleimani.

The Islamic Republic also walked out of the nuclear deal and has threatened to pursue its nuclear program. In retaliation to Soleimani's killing, Tehran attacked two US military bases in Iraq.

Meanwhile, Iran's president Hassan Rouhani has warned that European soldiers in the Middle East "could be in danger".

His remark came after Britain, France and Germany questioned Tehran over its threat to defy the limits on its nuclear program.

Iran, he said, had incurred "hundreds of billions of dollars in damages" because of the ongoing tensions. Zarif also held talks with his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov at the Raisina dialogue.