Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif in an interview with NBC Nightly News’ Lester Holt said Monday that his country does not want a war with the U.S. but said President Donald Trump must lift harsh economic sanctions on Tehran to clear the way for negotiations.
“Once those sanctions are lifted, then … the room for negotiation is wide open,” Zarif said during a visit to New York for a U.N. conference.
Zarif said it was the United States, not Iran, that had undermined diplomacy by walking away from the 2015 nuclear agreement between Tehran and world powers. “It is the United States that left the bargaining table. And they’re always welcome to return,” Zarif said.
Zarif said Iran had no interest in securing a nuclear arsenal, though it could have built the bomb if it wanted to. “Had we been interested in developing nuclear weapons, we would have been able to do it long time ago,” Zarif said.
“I do not believe that President Trump wants war. But I believe that people are around him who wouldn’t mind,” he said commenting on the recent escalation of tensions between the two countries. “But I don’t think they’ll succeed because at the end of the day, I think prudence will prevail. People know that Iran is a big, proud country. And we will not take a military attack lightly.”
Talking about what he expects from potential future negotiations, Zarif said that one needs to “find a win/win situation, like in any other negotiation.”