Zarif on Netanyahu's claims: Nonsense

Iranian Foreign Minister rejects Netanyahu’s claims about a "secret atomic warehouse" in Iran, says there won't be a Trump-Rouhani meeting.

Elad Benari, Canada,

Mohammad Javad Zarif
Mohammad Javad Zarif

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif on Sunday rejected Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s claims that Tehran has been concealing a "secret atomic warehouse."

"He’s just trying to find a smokescreen,” Zarif told CBS's "Face the Nation", referring to the information revealed by Netanyahu during his speech last week at the UN General Assembly.

“The previous allegations that Netanyahu made have been investigated by the IAEA [International Atomic Energy Agency] and have been rejected," Zarif added.

Netanyahu’s accusations, claimed Zarif, are “nonsense. He’s been wrong about the previous [allegations] and he’s wrong about this one."

Zarif also said his country had considered leaving the 2015 nuclear deal after US President Donald Trump withdrew from it, but has not done so due to Europe’s efforts to maintain the deal.

“That's still a possibility,” he said about Iran potentially leaving the deal. ”It hasn't happened yet because Europeans have been working with us in order to make sure that Iran enjoys the economic dividends of the nuclear agreement. And we will be working with the Europeans. We've made good progress.”

Ask if he believes Trump is a bully for imposing sanctions on his country and threatening countries that continue to do business with Iran, Zarif replied, “Well. I think the behavior is one. The problem is the United States is pushing people to act in a lawless way. I don't think it's going to be sustainable. This policy is going to have a backlash. The international community is not going to accept somebody to come and just- orders. We will continue to work with the Europeans. Certainly some European companies have withdrawn from Iran because of the fear of punishment by the United States.”

“Today he says he wants to talk to President Rouhani. Tomorrow he says President Rouhani is a corrupt dictator. Then he says he- he's a lovely man. Then he says we have asked to talk and he is not prepared to talk. So let's be serious,” he continued, in reference to Trump’s overtures towards Iran.

Zarif stressed there will be no meeting between Trump and Rouhani “until the United States shows that it's respectable, trustworthy partner in negotiations. Negotiations are not based on trust. Negotiations are based on respect, based on an expectation that the other side will comply with its decisions that it's undertaken under the negotiations.”

Finally, Zarif acknowledged that the Holocaust occurred but and “a huge number of people died” and then went on to blast Israel, saying, “But [the Holocaust] does not justify depriving others of their homeland. It does not justify building settlements in the territory of other people. It does not justify violating on mass the rights of Palestinians. The Holocaust cannot be used as a justification for an apartheid policy in Palestine.”

(Arutz Sheva’s North American desk is keeping you updated until the start of Simchat Torah and Shmini Atzeret in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)