Iran's Zarif: Obama's Nuke Deal Speech Aimed at 'Calming Zionists'

Iranians respond to U.S. president's speech, claiming Tehran never wanted to build a nuclear bomb.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif in Tehran. July 29, 2015
Reuters

DPA - Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif on Thursday described U.S. President Barack Obama's speech on the recent nuclear deal with the international community as irrelevant and merely for a domestic audience, which he said included addressing "Zionist" fears.

Iran is also not responsible for the crises in the region and the spread of terrorism; rather it is the indiscriminate Middle East policies of the United States and its allies that bear the responsibility, Zarif said in response to Obama's speech.

"Therefore the president's speech was more directed at a domestic audience and the critics in his own country, and especially at calming the Zionists," Zarif said in his statement.

"The claim that the deal has blocked Iran's path to a nuclear bomb is a renewed attempt to prove the absurdity of the topic," he said, adding that Iran never wanted to build a nuclear bomb and will never want to build one.

Bloomberg

Obama defended the deal Wednesday and warned that the only alternative to the nuclear agreement with Iran was war in the Middle East. “The choice we face is between diplomacy and some form of war,” the president said during an address to the nation at the American University in Washington.

Wednesday’s address was an attempt by the president to mobilize public support for what is expected to be a bruising battle in Congress over approval of the agreement. He appealed to the public to pressure their representatives into supporting the agreement, saying that “if Congress kills this deal we will lose America's credibility in international diplomacy.”

Though the prime audience of the speech was the American public, the president made several references to Israel and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, one of the agreement’s key opponents.

“I don't doubt Netanyahu's sincerity but I think he is wrong,” the president said. “To the Israeli people I say this: Nuclear-armed Iran is more dangerous than an Iran that benefits from sanction relief,” the president stated.

Netanyahu, for his part, took to the Web on Tuesday to call on American Jews to publicly oppose the deal, but urged listeners to judge the nuclear agreement on its merits and not through a partisan lens.

“Don’t let the deal’s supporters quash the real debate,” Netanyahu said. “The issue here is too important."

Haaretz contributed to this report