In an attempt to twist Iran’s proverbial arm, Washington has ramped up it’s “maximum pressure campaign” which includes threats, intimidation, psychological warfare, economic terrorism in the form of increased sanctions, increased military presence in the Middle East, and a list of not one, or two but TWELVE nearly impossible demands.
The Trump administration’s tactics have proven futile in forcing Iran to negotiate a new nuclear deal, after United States President Donald Trump unilaterally withdrew last year from the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action or JCPOA nuclear deal which was created under the Obama administration.
France, Germany, and the U.K. all discouraged Trump from withdrawing from the deal, their efforts to convince him, however, were fruitless. The landmark deal was reached after 18 days of negotiations in Vienna between Iran and six world powers and was meant to curb Iran’s nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief. Right after Trump withdrew from the deal sanctions were re-imposed.
A U.N. watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency stated in a confidential quarterly report that even after Trump’s withdraw that Iran has stayed within the JCPOA nuclear deal’s limitations.
On June 2nd, 2019, while in Switzerland, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo stated "We're prepared to engage in a conversation with no preconditions... We're ready to sit down with them. But the American effort to fundamentally reverse the malign activity of this Islamic Republic, this revolutionary force, is going to continue." Iran rejected the offer.
In an interview on the same day, with ABC News, Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif was asked if Iran is willing to talk to Washington, and he responded that it’s not very likely because “talking is the continuation of pressure”, and that using pressure to bring Iran to the negotiating table will not work. Zarif said that the only thing that will work with Iran is respect.
Zarif said that they will take legal measures within the nuclear deal and stressed that they are a law-abiding country and are not in violation of the 2015 deal. He also said that Iran has provided a timetable of what they will do within 60 days, and what will happen beyond 60 days, and this is all for the sake of transparency. After 60 days the plan calls for higher enrichment, however they are prepared to regress on that front, if other parties implement their obligations under the deal.
Zarif stated “People think twice before talking to the United States because they know that what they agree today might not hold up tomorrow”. He used US deals with North Korea, Mexico, and China as examples.
Rather than continue to escalate tensions under their “maximum pressure campaign” and cause Iranian’s to suffer immensely, Washington should take note of Zarif’s message to the Trump Administration, "I've said it before, threats against Iran never work,". "Never threaten an Iranian. Try respect, that may work." It’s a harmless request, besides normalizing relations between the two super-powers would ultimately benefit humanity.
In his ABC News interview, Zarif mentioned the hardship that these sanctions are having on ordinary Iranian civilians even when it comes to non-sanctionable items such as food and medicine. "If the objective of President Trump is to impose pressure on normal Iranians, on ordinary Iranians, he is certainly achieving that." "But he will not achieve his policy objectives through pressure on the Iranians."
Zarif stressed that Iran will defend itself against Washington’s economic terrorism and increased military presence in its vicinity. As to what kind of response Iran would take against increased escalations, he didn’t reveal his cards but did state that their will be consequences if the United States continues adding more sanctions against Iranians.
"If the United States decides to cause so much pain on the Iranian people by imposing economic warfare, by engaging in economic terrorism against Iran, then there will be consequences," Zarif stated. "We don't differentiate between economic war and military war," he stressed. "The U.S. is engaged in war against us, and a war is painful to our participants. We have a very clear notion that in a war, nobody wins. In war, everybody loses the loss of some will be greater than the loss of others."
As for the U.S.’s accusations that Iran was involved in or responsible for sabotaging four oil tankers near the Persian Gulf, Zarif denies Iran’s involvement. Solid evidence hasn’t been presented to properly place blame on anyone.
As far as what Zarif would say to Iranian’s he said that the reason why they are under the pressure that they are currently in is because Trump left the nuclear deal. Zarif also said that it’s their obligation to alleviate some of the pressure against the Iranian people and they are doing the best that they can, but they cannot surrender their integrity.