Iran’s former foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif in unprecedented revelations said that Donald Trump had invited him to the White House, but he was “not allowed” to go.

Zarif was guest in a five-hour discussion session in Persian on the social media audio app, Club House, and around 40,000 people listened in.

The former foreign minister has long been a favorite target of Iran’s hardliners as the supposed architect of the 2015 JCPOA nuclear deal and allegedly as a man pre-disposed to forge better ties with the United States and Europe. But in recent days these attacks intensified as Zarif began to tweet after a long silence.

Zarif without mentioning a name said, “A senator close to Trump came to see me in New York and said Trump had invited me to the White House. I relayed this message to Tehran and said if I fail [in resolving differences] I will accept punishment, but the message did not reach higher echelons and was rejected at lower levels.”

Although Zarif did not mention when this incident took place, media reports during his visits to New York show that it was most likely in the first half of 2019,or a year after Trump withdrew from the JCPOA.

However, his claim that his message was not relayed to top decision makers leaves question marks. The nuclear dispute with the United States, crippling sanctions the Trump administration imposed and the danger of a military confrontation at the time, made a meeting with Trump a crucial development for Tehran and such a message would have certainly been delivered to Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, the ultimate decision maker.

Zarif meeting former US secretary of state John Kerry at the early stages of JCPOA talks a decade ago

Zarif’s claim that lower-level people prevented him from meeting Trump, might be a tactic to protect Khamenei, whom many Iranians blame for the costly confrontation with the United States.

In fact, Zarif himself admitted during the discussion that “all reports were being relayed to Khamenei, and he expressed his opinion whenever he wanted…”

Zarif also spoke at length about his diplomatic efforts, trying to enlist the help of French President Emmanuel Macron and Russian President Vladimir Putin to make an opening with the Trump administration.

Zarif claimed that Macron told him in Paris that Trump was ready to meet with him, but “I did not have permission to meet with Trump.”

“In contrast to Trump, former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was a person, who driven by his ideology spoiled everything related to the JCPOA. The triangle of Benjamin Netanyahu, Mike Pompeo and [former national security adviser] John Bolton” did everything to prevent a meeting with Trump.

This statement somewhat contradicted Zarif’s earlier assertion that he was not allowed by Tehran to meet with Trump.

“I asked Vladimir Putin to directly relay Iran’s plan for the JCPOA to Trump, without [Secretary of State] Pompeo’s intervention, but Pompeo realized this and prevented it.”

Zarif speaking about Iran’s inability to pressure the US said, “Iran can pressure Europe but due to American economic clout the Europeans acted in a weak manner regarding Iran, but they helped the Islamic Republic to obtain management posts in the United Nations.”

The former foreign minister was referring to European banks and companies generally abiding by US sanctions and adding to the economic pressure on the Islamic Republic. However, he did not mention any details about the posts he claimed Europeans helped secure at the UN.

Regarding the JCPOA negotiations from 2013-2015, Zarif said, “We wanted to break the security consensus formed against Iran and for this reason we negotiated. Removing [international] sanctions was not our only goal.”

Zarif’s appearance and statements in the Club House discussion are bound to reverberate in Iran and lead to strong attacks by hardliners. It is not clear why he chose to speak now and to what extent this is a part of an orchestrated effort by top decision makers, who are facing similar international isolation and security threats as a decade ago.

More News

24 with Fardad
IITV News (12) - DC
Titre Aval

Share your story

Send your Videos and Photos to us