The Iranian Foreign Minister has accused Washington’s allies in the Middle East of sponsoring terrorism.
Mohammad Javad Zarif was speaking to CNN, commenting on US President Donald Trump’s apparent anti-Iranian policy in the region.
In an exclusive interview with CNN’s Fareed Zakaria, Zarif said Trump’s stance towards Iran, which includes accusations of Tehran sponsoring terrorism, represented a “misplaced and misguided policy.”
“We know where the terrorists are coming from.
We know those who attacked the World Trade Center were citizens of which countries in the region – I can tell you none of them came from Iran,” Zarif said.
The FM added that “none of the people who engaged in acts of terrorism since 2001 came from Iran,” pointing out that “most of them came from US allies.”
Out of the 19 terrorists who hijacked planes on September 11, 2001, fifteen were Saudi Arabian citizens, two were from UEA while the rest were Egyptian and a Lebanese.
“Look at ISIS [Islamic State, IS], look at Nusra [Al-Nusra Front terrorist group], look at Al-Qaeda, look at other terrorist organizations… none of them have anything to do with Iran and all of them receive not only their ideology but their financial assistance, their weapons, their arms from others who call themselves US allies,” Zarif said.
Trump has branded Iran the main sponsor of terrorism during his US presidential campaign.
During his landmark visit to Saudi Arabia this May, the US president said “until the Iranian regime is willing to be a partner for peace, all nations of conscience must work together to isolate Iran.”
Following the twin IS-linked terror attacks on the Iranian parliament and the mausoleum of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini in early June, which left 14 dead and 42 injured, Trump went as far to say that it was Tehran’s own fault: “We underscore that states that sponsor terrorism risk falling victim to the evil they promote.”
Zarif dismissed the US leader’s remarks as “repugnant,” while saying that “Iranians counter terror backed by US clients.”
The US accuses Tehran of supporting various Shia militant groups in the Middle East and North Africa – including Hamas in Palestine, Hezbollah in Lebanon and the Houthis in Yemen.
Iran is also a strong ally of Syrian President Bashar Assad, whom Washington wanted to be removed from power.
The CNN interview focused on the “endgame” in Syria, which Zarif believes must come with a ceasefire, without preconditions and Syrians deciding for themselves who they want as a president.
Zarif also rejected claims from a group of senators that Iran has violated the nuclear deal, pointing out that the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), which is the monitoring body in accordance with the deal, has verified that Tehran has been in full compliance with the agreed scaleback of its nuclear program.
Zarif accused Washington of violating its part of the deal by calling other states not to do business with Tehran.