Iranian Foreign Minister once again condemned the US act of terror is assassinating former Quds Force Commander Lieutenant General Soleimani, noting that the terror came while Soleimani was on a peace mission in Iraq.
“The US targeted Lt. Gen. Soleimani while he was traveling in a civilian vehicle on a mission to promote peace in Iraq,” the Iranian diplomat said in Munich Security Conference 2020 on Saturday.
“The US action was ‘definitely a terrorist act’,” he stressed.
He noted, “Iran's missile attack on the US its military bases in Iraq was legitimate defense and based on Article 51 of the United Nations' Charter,” adding, “People in many countries around the world have objected to this terrorist act and, contrary to what the presenter says, they were not ‘proxy forces’ or ‘militias’.”
Answering the question of whether the "revenge" of the Islamic Republic of Iran is over, he said, “No, Iran has taken military action in response to military action.”
Iranian FM implied the role of Mike Pompeo in the assassination of Lt. Gen. Qasem Soleimani, saying that he is now trying to imitate Bolton's behavior and therefore offered the assassination of Gen. Soleimani to Trump.
“I think President [Donald] Trump didn't have good advisers. He has been waiting for our government to collapse since withdrawing JCPOA. At that time, John Bolton was telling him that Iran would come to its knees in a few months,".
US policy on Iran
Referring to Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), known commonly as the Iran nuclear deal, Zarif said, “Although the US had signed the agreement and had been endorsed by the United Nations Security Council, Trump has suddenly decided to withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal because of the agreement reached by former President Barack Obama.”
Stating that Iran won’t negotiate on JCPOA again, he said, “You don't buy a horse twice.”
Responding to a question about the possibility of a dialogue between Iran and the US, FM Zarif said, “It does not mean that Tehran and Washington will negotiate directly, it means that the US should back to negotiating table of 5+1 which it had left it.”
“The United States continues to pursue a policy of regime change in Iran, which has failed over the past 41 years and Washington must accept the failure of that policy,” he added.
De-escalating tensions in the region
“Some countries including, Oman, Qatar and Iraq accepted to join the Hormuz Peace Endeavour (HOPE) initiative and Iran has sent a message to Saudi Arabia and Bahrain to advance the plan and ease tensions in the region, even though it has no diplomatic relations with these countries,” Iranian FM said.
Referring to Saudi Arabia's negative behavior in response to Iran's efforts to ease tensions, the foreign minister said, "After the assassination of Lt. Gen. Soleimani, their [Saudis] behavior moderated for several weeks, perhaps because they were concerned about our response. But after I said our answer was over, they went back to their previous behavior.”
“We are not seeking tensions with our neighbors at all. When Iraq invaded Kuwait, we helped Kuwait, despite Kuwait's support for Iraq. When Saudi Arabia besieged Qatar, we helped Qatar. If anyone attacks Saudi Arabia today, we are ready to help them,” he said.
He went on to say, “We are ready to negotiate with all our neighbors about a security mechanism that will create security in the Persian Gulf. The Persian Gulf belongs to all of us. My message to my brothers is that the US does not provide you with security; the security does come from within the region.”
Zarif eventually referred to Saudi Arabia's support for the terrorist group of Mujaheddin-e Khalq Organization (MKO also known as MEK) and said, “This terrorist group, which gives $ 50,000 to John Bolton for each speech, does not receive its money on the streets and through donations, but they receive it from some individuals in Saudi Arabia.”
US' new plan for the Middle East
Referring to the ‘Deal of the Century”, Zarif said, “Trump has now angered the people of the region by unveiling the so-called "Deal of the Century,” adding, “Iran will not be responsible if any violence occurs in this regard.”