Trump, Netanyahu and MBS ‘Isolated’ Over Iran Sanctions, Zarif Says

Iranian Foreign Minister says the U.S., Israel and Saudi Arabia 'have become the symbol of mistrust in the world,' as the first round of U.S sanctions are due to be reinstated on Tuesday

Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, April 24, 2018.
Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, April 24, 2018.Credit: Richard Drew/AP

U.S. President Donald Trump and his allies in the Middle East have become isolated by their hostile policies towards Tehran, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said on Monday, state TV reported.

"Today, Trump, (Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad) Bin Salman and (Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin) Netanyahu have become the symbol of mistrust in the world," Zarif was quoted as saying.

"Their oppressive policies and violent measures have made them isolated... The world has distanced itself from their hostile policies against Iran."

A first round of U.S. sanctions against Iran, lifted under the 2015 international deal over its nuclear program, are due to be reinstated on Tuesday.

They will cover Iran's purchases of dollars, its trade in gold and precious metals and its automotive sector.

Under the deal between Tehran and world powers, most international sanctions imposed on Iran were lifted in 2016 in return for Tehran curbing its nuclear program.

Saying the deal had failed to address Iran's ballistic missile program, its nuclear activities beyond 2025 and its role in regional wars, Trump withdrew from it in May in a move that Israel - which Iran refuses to recognize - and Saudi Arabia welcomed.

Israel supported the imminent resumption of U.S. sanctions.

They "will compel the Iranians to decide between meeting the demands of the United States ... or risking the regime's collapse and fall. The first option is good, the second excellent," Israeli Intelligence Minister Israel Katz said on Twitter.

Shi'ite Iran has also been at loggerheads for decades with Sunni Muslim Saudi Arabia, fighting a long-running proxy war in the Middle East and beyond that has influenced conflicts in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and Yemen.

"These three countries want to create psychological tension against Iran ... We will overcome this period of hardship," Zarif said.

Despite efforts by Russia, China and Europe to salvage the deal, the Trump administration is pushing countries to cut all imports of Iranian oil from November, when the United States re-imposes sanctions Iran's oil and shipping industries.

Fear of sanctions and economic hardship have led to sporadic protests in several cities in Iran in the past days, with ordinary Iranians chanting slogans against Iranian leaders.



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