TEHRAN, Young Journalists Club (YJC) - In an exclusive interview with CNN, Zarif warned the US was "playing a very, very dangerous game" by boosting its military presence in the region.
Taking a swipe at the US for sending the USS Abraham Lincoln carrier strike group and a bomber task force to the Persian Gulf, Zarif said, "Having all these military assets in a small area is in of itself prone to accidents, extreme prudence is required and the United States is playing a very, very dangerous game."
The top Iranian diplomat also reiterated that Tehran won't negotiate with US President Donald Trump unless Washington shows "respect" by honoring its commitments under the 2015 nuclear deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).
Lambasting the US for withdrawing from the JCPOA, Zarif highlighted Iran’s compliance with the deal, saying, "We acted in good faith."
"We are not willing to talk to people who have broken their promises," the foreign minister underlined.
Commenting on the US president’s push for direct talks with Iran and also his anti-Tehran threats, Zarif said, "Iran never negotiates with coercion. You cannot threaten any Iranian and expect them to engage. The way to do it is through respect, not through threats."
Last week, Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei underlined that there will be no military confrontation between Iran and the US as Washington is aware that it won’t be in its interest, adding that negotiation with the US is not on the Islamic Republic’s agenda either.
“The Iranian nation’s definite option will be resistance in the face of the US, and in this confrontation, the US would be forced into a retreat,” Ayatollah Khamenei said. “Neither we nor they, who know war will not be in their interest, are after war.”