SHAFAQNA– A senior Iranian foreign policy expert says Foreign Minister Mohammad-Javad Zarif has turned into a trademark for Iran, a brand that acts rationally and wisely, keeps self-restraint and seeks consensus, peace and security, and for the reason the United States is trying to silence him.
In an exclusive interview with Shafaqna Farsi, Amir-Ali Abulfat’h has said that “When the Treasury Department imposes sanctions on any individual, his and his family members’s access to their bank accounts are denied while their assets are freezed and they will be denied visa to the US. However, he does not rejects the possibility of the United States denying visa to Mr. Zarif although he is a foreign minister who should attend the UN meetings in New York City. These are the consequences of sanctions on a person who is blacklisted.”
Current US government not committed to any rule
Abulfat’h adds, “As the current administration in Washington does not abide by any rule, law or principle, it puts the leader of another country or part of its armed forces under sanctions, these are unprecedented measures and we should take into consideration that they sanctioned Mr. Zarif because they hold a grudge against him.” According to the Iranian analyst, “We should expect additional offensive behaviors from the part of the American administration, they might include denying Zarif permission to step in the US, under Washington’s pressure foreign officials mat refuse to meet with Iran’s lead diplomat. Americans could go even an extra mile to execute their will.”
Zarif’s sanctions run against International laws
Shafaqna asks Abulfat’h about international aspect of blacklisting Zarif. He responds that,”Imposing punitive measures against Zarif runs against international laws, he is a diplomat not a military man, he neither supported terrorism, nor was involved in acts of terror. He is not an economic agent who bypasses US sanctions on Iran. The Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control openly expressed that Zarif’s name was put on sanction list for his obedience to the Leader of Iran’s Islamic Revolution, and expressing Tehran’s positions in the world. Americans are trying to prevent the world from hearing the voice of Iranian leadership via his foreign minister and in fact are thwarting his diplomatic efforts.”
Amir-Ali Abulfat’h warns, “Such a trend could become a norm in the international system and give the United States the tool to sanction foreign ministers of other countries such as China, North Korea, Turkey, Russia, etc. He even predicts, “This trend could have spillover effect and provides other countries with the pretext to strike other top diplomats, disrespect diplomatic relationships and create a havoc in the global diplomacy.”
Trump administration after diplomatic demonstrations
When asked if Zarif sanctions would affect visits by foreign officials to Iran and vice versa, the senior Iranian replies “Yes and adds but we should not be pessimistic”. He mentions the US blacklisting the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps as an example and explains “The Trump administration declared sanctions against the IRGC with much huff and puff, though in reality, no action was taken against the guards, no IRGC commander was arrested on charge of terrorism and no incident took place in the Persian Gulf between the Iranians forces and the American Navy ships. Therefore, it seems that the government in Washington is more interested in this political show and nothing will happen at the end of the road”. Amir-Ali Abulfat’h thinks there could be the same circumstances in the case of Foreign Minister Zarif and the Americans may not try to prevent him from travelling to New York City.
Zarif: diplomatic brand of wisdom and rationality
According to Abulfat’h, “Throughout the past 4 decades, the Islamic Republic has had various foreign ministers, they traveled to the US and attended diplomatic circles, but Foreign Minister Javad Zarif is a unique person who has his own convincing language and is supported by the Iranian people. He is now turned into a trademark of Iranian wisdom and rationality that pursues consensus, peace, security, and the United States rightly looks at him as Iran’s brand who justifies the Islamic Republic’s stances. American policy-makers think Zarif has the power to convince the public that Tehran and Washington are on the right side and the wrong side of the history respectively. He can use English language to coin words, he invented the “B-Team” that was repeated numerously by the US media outlets. Zarif touched the US’ Achilles Heel and all that evolved into a grudge against him.”
Amir-Ali Abulfat’h also touches on recent events in the domestic politics, which led to the sidelining of Zarif and raising criticisms against him. He notes, “As if, there was a rift within the Islamic establishment. The idea that Zarif’s star was falling made Americans happy. They concluded it was the time to rein in Zarif when the top Iranian leadership threw his weight behind him and showed he still has the leader’s support in major strategic matters. The US administration hoped to create a rift between Zarif’s logic and the rest of the Iranian society and tighten the screw on the Islamic Republic to force it accept its conditions, but they failed in their strategy.”
Tehran’s reaction to US sanctioning of FM
Shafaqna asked the analyst what should be Tehran’s reaction for now? He thinks, “All Iranian political sides should express support for Zarif and the authorities must explain to the public why the US is slapping sanctions on the top Iranian diplomat and that Zarif’s remarks are heard and Washington wants to keep him silent.” Abulfat’h goes on to say that “Tehran should run some propaganda outside of Iran and show how dangerous the US actions are. Media outlets must inform the public about this matter”.
This interview originally published by Shafaqna Farsi, translated by Shafaqna English.
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