In an aggressive exchange with reporters, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif denounced Western attempts to get Iran to compromise on sanctions relief. Zarif’s comments came just before it was announced that the negotiations in Lausanne, Switzerland between Iran and the P5+1 powers over the future of Iran’s illicit nuclear program would be extended yet another day past its original March 31 deadline.
Zarif struck a defiant tone when discussing Iran’s unwillingness to accept any less than full and immediate lifting of sanctions on Iran.
An agreement and pressure will not go together. They are mutually exclusive. So our friends need to decide whether they want to be with with Iran based on respect or that they want to continue based on pressure. They have tested the other one. It’s high time test this one… I am all smiles.
Zarif refused to answer whether Iran had refused an offer that was made. During the past week, reports surfaced Iran has refused to shut down its underground site at Fordow, which houses thousands of centrifuges that could be used to enrich uranium; refused intrusive inspections necessary to ensure it is complying with any deal; and backtracked on a promise to ship its enriched uranium stockpile to Russia.
He also tweeted similar sentiments last week.
Iranians have already made their choice: Engage with dignity. It's high time for the US and its allies to chose: pressure or agreement.
— Javad Zarif (@JZarif) March 20, 2015
The full video can be found below. It was taped by The Israel Project, which publishes The Tower.
[Photo: The Israel Project]