Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif told NBC News on Friday he thinks the “same gang” that provoked the 2003 invasion of Iraq is trying to set up a “suicidal” war between the United States and Iran.
“I’m not saying President Trump’s administration, I’m saying people in President Trump’s administration are trying to create the same eventuality and I believe they will fail,” Zarif said, leaving the identity of these opportunistic warmongers vague but not terribly difficult to guess for anyone familiar with Iranian rhetoric.
“I think at the end of the day some sense will prevail and people will find out it’s suicidal to engage in a war with Iran,” he said.
Asked why it would be suicidal for the United States to engage his country in battle, Zarif said Iran is “different from other countries.”
“You see, the United States is used to dealing with countries that rely on [the] outside as their source of legitimacy, their source of strength,” he elaborated. “We have survived for 40 years in spite of the U.S. – not with U.S. support, but in spite of U.S. pressure.”
Zarif’s talk of “war” and his boasts of Iranian military power were largely a hyperbolic means of discussing the Iran nuclear deal, which he criticized the United States for exiting. He insisted Iran will not renegotiate the deal and insinuated American agents might have sabotaged Iran’s last two “satellite launches,” which did not go well.
Zarif, who is currently attending a security conference in Germany to shore up European support for the nuclear deal, was directly criticized on Thursday by his American counterpart, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. Pompeo mocked attempts to portray Zarif as a “moderate.”
“It’s not moderate to accuse the Israelis and the Americans of murder,” Pompeo said, referring to Iranian insinuations that the United States and Israel were behind a terrorist attack that killed 27 members of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps on Wednesday.
“I would ask those countries when they meet with Mr. Zarif to ask him why he would say such an outrageous thing,” Pompeo said to the diplomats who would later meet with Zarif in Munich.
Zarif himself said on social media, “Is it no coincidence that Iran is hit by terror on the very day that Warsaw circus begins? Especially when cohorts of same terrorists cheer it from Warsaw streets & support it with Twitter bots? The U.S. seems to always make the same wrong choices, but expect different results.”
The “Warsaw circus” Zarif lambasted was a 60-nation meeting in Poland this week, attended by Vice President Mike Pence, to address the threat posed by Iran and encourage other countries not to undermine U.S. sanctions.