Iran’s foreign minister has brushed aside new pressure from the United States, declaring that his country is “unmoved by threats” but responds well to respect.
President Donald Trump has repeatedly criticised the 2015 nuclear agreement between Iran, the US and five other world powers, under which Tehran agreed to curb its uranium enrichment in exchange for the lifting of international sanctions, but has not said what he plans to do about it.
His administration has said Iran was “on notice” over a recent ballistic missile test, and imposed new sanctions on more than two dozen Iranian companies and individuals.
“Iran doesn’t respond well to threats,” Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif told the Munich Security Conference, an annual gathering of top diplomats and defence officials.
“We don’t respond well to coercion. We don’t respond well to sanctions, but we respond very well to mutual respect. We respond very well to arrangements to reach mutually acceptable scenarios.
“Iran is unmoved by threats.
“Everybody tested us for many years – all threats and coercions were imposed on us.”
He mocked “the concept of crippling sanctions,” which he said merely ended with Iran having acquired thousands more centrifuges, used for enriching uranium.
Iran has always said it has no interest in nuclear weapons. Asked how long it would take to make one if it did decide it wanted such weapons, Mr Zarif replied: “We are not going to produce nuclear weapons, period. So it will take forever for Iran to produce nuclear weapons.”