Iran's Zarif not ruling out negotiations with the US

Iranian Foreign Minister says talks with the US are still possible, but it must remove sanctions. Trump: No thanks!

Arutz Sheva Staff ,

Donald Trump
Donald Trump

Iran is not ruling out negotiations with the United States even after an American drone strike that killed top Iranian general Qassem Soleimani, its Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said on Saturday.

Speaking to Germany's Der Spiegel magazine and quoted by The Associated Press, Zarif said that he would "never rule out the possibility that people will change their approach and recognize the realities.”

Tensions have been growing between Washington and Tehran since 2018, when President Donald Trump pulled the United States out of the 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and world powers.

In response, Iran gradually scaled back its compliance with the 2015 deal, before announcing earlier this month that it will abandon the deal altogether following the killing of Soleimani.

Zarif, however, took a conciliatory tone in the interview with Der Spiegel, and suggested Iran was still willing to talk, though reiterated his country's previous demand that first the US would have to lift sanctions.

"For us, it doesn't matter who is sitting in the White House, what matters is how they behave," he said.

"The Trump administration can correct its past, lift the sanctions and come back to the negotiating table. We're still at the negotiating table. They're the ones who left," added Zarif.

Zarif also suggested Iran was also still prepared for conflict with the US, though was not specific.

"The US has inflicted great harm on the Iranian people," he said. "The day will come when they will have to compensate for that. We have a lot of patience."

Trump later on Saturday responded to Zarif’s comments on Twitter.

“Iranian Foreign Minister says Iran wants to negotiate with The United States, but wants sanctions removed. No Thanks!” he wrote.

Zarif just recently threatened that his country could quit the global nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) if European countries refer it to the UN Security Council over the 2015 nuclear agreement.

His threat came after Britain, France and Germany triggered the dispute mechanism in the nuclear deal that could eventually lead to reimposing UN sanctions on Iran, citing its repeated violations of the agreement.