Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif on Monday described American sanctions against him as a “diplomatic failure” by the United States, which he claimed is “all alone in the world today” and unable to form effective international coalitions.
“The sanctions against me is a refusal to hold dialogue and Washington’s diplomatic failure,” Zarif said at a Monday press conference in Tehran.
He was hit with sanctions by the U.S. Treasury Department last week for his involvement with Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), a designated foreign terrorist organization, and his actions on behalf of Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, a sanctioned individual.
Zarif claimed he was hit with sanctions because he refused an offer to engage in backdoor negotiations. “I’m not going to make remarks on what happened in the negotiations, but I was told in New York that I would be sanctioned in two weeks unless I accepted that offer, which fortunately I did not,” he said.
Zarif predicted the United States would be unable to “hammer out a coalition on the Strait of Hormuz,” where Iran has been attacking and seizing commercial vessels, because “its allies have no intention of joining them in the endeavor.”
“The US cannot form a coalition in areas that it claims to be a superpower, such as in the military area. Other countries are embarrassed to have their names on a list next to the U.S.,” he said.
Zarif pointed to U.S. negotiations with the resurgent Taliban in Afghanistan as proof that “the era of being a superpower and bullying is over” for America.
“Whoever is starting the fire cannot be the firefighter. Every time that the U.S. has come to the Persian Gulf, it has brought nothing but violence and war,” he charged.
The Iranian foreign minister claimed his country is “responsible for the security and safety of the Strait of Hormuz and the region,” further asserting that more ships will be seized because Iran will no longer “close its eyes” to “maritime offenses.”
Zarif said Iran would continue to defy U.S. sanctions and threatened Europe with further breaches of the 2015 nuclear deal if the Europeans do not meet Iran’s demands. He further accused Britain of being “complicit in U.S. economic terrorism against Iran.”
“Iran’s progress and development will be the best response to the policy of U.S. pressure and economic terrorism. No empire is eternal, and we will persevere in this struggle, relying on the Iranian people,” he said.