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Refusal To Hold Talks in White House Led to Sanctions: Zarif

The Iranian Foreign Minister has shared that the US sanctions imposed on him were actually as a result of him refusing to meet with Donald Trump in person.

Mohammad Javad Zarif had received a ‘chat’ invitation from Washington which he turned down, well aware that he had already been threatened with sanctions if he did not make himself available at the White House.

Two weeks post the sanctions were imposed, Zarif had been visiting US as the part of the Iranian UN Mission in New York for which the White House administration had not withheld his visa. At that time, Zarif reportedly met the Republican senator Rand Paul.

Post this Paul apparently conveyed Trump’s intent for talks with Tehran, which reaching home, Iran turned down. According to Zarif, “The United States is only interested in submission and no constructive conversation. That will never happen.”

Currently, it is not clear as to whether sanctions will have any practical effect on Zarif. He says he does not have assets outside Iran, and the US is obliged to allow him to travel to the UN.US allies have said they will continue to meet and hold talks with the foreign minister.

On the Nuclear Programme front, Tehran has declared it will breach some of the restrictions on its nuclear program imposed in the 2015 agreement, unless other parties to the deal, the Europeans in particular, compensate Iran for the economic impact of US withdrawal.

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