Zarif: Trump showing 'disrespect'

Iran's Foreign Minister says his country is open to negotiations with the U.S. but only if it shows a "change of attitude."

Elad Benari,

Mohammad Javad Zarif
Mohammad Javad Zarif

Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif says the Trump administration is showing “disrespect” towards Tehran, AFP reported Saturday.

He added that his country is open to prisoner swap negotiations with the U.S., but only if the Trump administration shows a "change of attitude."

His comments were made in an interview with CBS, set to air in full on Sunday.

Negotiations are a "possibility certainly from a humanitarian perspective, but it requires a change of attitude," Zarif said.

Five Americans are held in Tehran, including 81-year-old Baquer Namazi, who is in failing health.

Zarif blasted the U.S. administration for showing "disrespect" toward Iran.

"You do not engage in negotiations by exercising disrespect for a country, for its people, for its government, by openly making claims, including this illusion about regime change," the Iranian foreign minister said.

Under the Obama administration, Tehran released four Americans in exchange for seven Iranians being released in the United States.

A fifth American, identified as Matthew Trevithick, was also released separately as an "associated goodwill gesture."

President Donald Trump, however, has taken a tougher approach towards Iran and the 2015 nuclear deal signed during the Obama administration.

Trump, who has blasted the 2015 nuclear deal as “the worst deal ever negotiated”, in January decided to extend a waiver on nuclear sanctions that were imposed on Iran.

However, he made clear it was the last time he would extend the waiver and has given the European signatories a May 12 deadline to “fix the terrible flaws” of the deal.

Iran has said it will stick to the accord as long as the other parties respect it, but threatened to “shred” the deal if Washington pulls out.

Earlier in the week, Zarif warned the United States of “unpleasant” consequences if it pulls out of the 2015 nuclear deal.