Iran FM Scolds Europe: You Are in ‘No Position’ to Criticise Us

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif speaks during a joint press conference with his French counterpart Laurent Fabius following their talks in Tehran on July 29, 2015. Fabius's visit to Iran comes after the conclusion of a landmark deal with the United States over the Islamic republic's controversial nuclear programme. …
BEHROUZ MEHRI/AFP/Getty

European Union (E.U.) countries are in “no position” to criticise Iran, Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said Sunday ahead of a visit from his German counterpart Heiko Maas. He added it was instead the E.U.’s “duty” to help fund his country’s survival, or face consequences.

Germany’s top diplomat is due in Tehran on Monday, as Iranian pressure increases for Europe to uphold commitments made under a 2015 nuclear deal since abandoned by the United States and send money to the Islamic republic.

“Europeans are certainly in no position to criticise Iran, even about issues that have nothing to do with” the agreement, Zarif said in televised remarks to journalists.

“The Europeans … should normalize economic ties with Iran…We will halt our commitments or will take action in accordance with their measures,” he concluded without further clarification.

In 2018, Iran twice told the E.U. it must do more to help deliver peace in the Middle East, saying it needs to back-up its standing commitments with actions and funding.

“What we need from the Europeans is both the political commitment, which they have made, now we need to see the measures in place on the ground, not simply in writing, not simply in words — in the banking sector, in the investment sector, in the energy sector, in the transportation sector, in the SME sector,” Dr. Zarif said.

It has also not gone unnoticed previously where funds can end up once they arrive in Iran, as the country is consistently accused of funding terror in the region:

Iran signed the landmark accord with China, Russia, Germany, Britain, France and the United States, leading to sanctions relief in exchange for Tehran curbing its nuclear programme.

But last year, U.S. President Donald Trump walked away from the JCPOA nuclear accord and Washington has since imposed sweeping sanctions on Iran.

European and Western policies “have only caused damage in the region,” Zarif lamented.

“Now some countries like Germany have stopped selling arms to Saudi Arabia for bombarding the people of Yemen, some other countries haven’t done so,” he added.

“In general, the West has allowed the autocratic regimes in our region to commit crimes.”

Zarif said that Europeans have “a duty” to ensure that Iran’s economic relations return to normal.

On Friday, Iran rejected an idea mooted by France to re-open nuclear talks, warning that seeking to broaden the existing agreement could lead to its collapse

AFP contributed to this story

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