A video published Thursday appeared to show Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif chanting “Death to America,” “Death to Britain,” and “Death to Israel” during an address by the Islamic Republic’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei in Tehran.
The crowd of people, which appeared to be absent of “moderates,” also called for “death to those who oppose the rule of the Islamic jurist” and “death to Muslims who don’t support us,” which includes nearly half, if not more, of Iran’s population.
Everyone’s justifiably focused on @JZarif chanting “death to America”, but just as disturbing and more important to understanding Iran’s regional policy are the chants of “death to those that don’t support the rule of the Islamic jurist” and “deth to Muslims who don’t support us” https://t.co/OGDC14QvMT
— فيصل بن فرحان (@FaisalbinFarhan) May 27, 2018
According to Arutz Sheva News, “Other senior Iranian officials were also in attendance during the chant, including Ali Akbar Salehi, the head of Iran’s nuclear program, and the chief of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard, Mohammed Bakri.”
In 2013, Suzanne Maloney of the Brookings Institution wrote of Zarif, “During his tenure as Iran’s representative to the United Nations in New York, Zarif established a reputation as a thoughtful and reasoned spokesman for a government pursuing policies that were often anything but.” Her article’s title called Zarif “Washington’s Favorite Iranian.”
On May 8, President Donald Trump withdrew the United States from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), or Iran nuclear deal, by reimposing sanctions on Khamenei’s personal empire and Iran’s Central Bank, which directly funds and finances Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and its nefarious activity abroad.
On May 21, Zarif blasted America’s diplomacy as a “sham,” and tweeted, “US diplomacy sham is merely a regression to old habits: imprisoned by delusions & failed policies—dictated by corrupt Special Interest—it repeats the same wrong choices and will thus reap the same ill rewards. Iran, meanwhile, is working with partners for post-US JCPOA solutions”:
US diplomacy sham is merely a regression to old habits: imprisoned by delusions & failed policies—dictated by corrupt Special Interest—it repeats the same wrong choices and will thus reap the same ill rewards. Iran, meanwhile, is working with partners for post-US JCPOA solutions.
— Javad Zarif (@JZarif) May 21, 2018
Iran is struggling to keep the Iran deal intact without the United States, looking to China and other European signatories to save it.
Last week, Ynet News reported that “Khamenei set out seven conditions for Tehran to stay in its nuclear deal with world powers, including steps by European banks to safeguard trade with Tehran.”
Zarif served as Iran’s ambassador to the United Nations from 2002 to 2007. The United Staes Institute for Peace noted that during that time, he “attempted to improve relations with the West, including the United States.”