In an indirect criticism of the United States and the G-7 summit, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif boasted of a successful meeting at the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) summit, which China hosted.
Zarif tweeted, “SCO summit in China illustrated how fast the world is changing. Commitment to mutually beneficial cooperation, solid support for JCPOA [Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action] and rejection of unilateralism. President [Hassan] Rouhani had constructive meetings with many leaders, including substantive bilaterals with [Chinese President] Xi Jinping and [Russian President Vladimir] Putin.” The tweet was accompanied with pictures of Rouhani’s meetings with Putin, Xi and also Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Zarif followed with an additional tweet about the unsuccessful G-7 summit in which the seven largest advanced economies in the world gathered. “While the G7 were busy fighting among themselves in Quebec — and unsuccessfully trying to appease the habitual Deal-Breaker-in-Chief — the SCO summit in Qingdao illustrated something altogether different: respectful cooperation among nations committed to multilateralism,” Zarif tweeted. Zarif’s tweet was not just a criticism toward President Donald Trump, calling him the Deal-Breaker-in-Chief, but also toward European countries who had pleaded and failed to keep the United States in the 2015 JCPOA.
While the United States seems intent on charting its own path, even one divergent from its traditional allies in Europe and Canada, Iran is emphasizing the need for multilateralism. During his speech at the SCO summit, Rouhani said that the world is “facing many unprecedented challenges.” He placed the threats of unilateralism alongside the threats of terrorism and extremism. Rouhani described the US violation of the nuclear deal as an act of unilateralism that he said would “weaken regional cooperation.”
According to Iran Newspaper, which carried Rouhani’s speech, Xi also highlighted the importance of multilateralism, calling the nuclear deal “a big multilateral achievement that ensures regional peace and cooperation.”
While Iran attempts to convince Europe to remain in the nuclear deal despite the looming US sanctions that will soon be applied to European companies who do business with Iran, Iran and China have agreed to use national currencies in trade exchanges. According to Economy Minister Masoud Karbasian, Iran and China also signed a memorandum of understanding on cooperation on stock and securities exchanges as well as cooperation in fighting illegal drugs and organized crime.
Iran also directed a caution light at North Korea, which is set to meet with Trump over its nuclear program. Bahram Ghassemi, the spokesman for Iran’s Foreign Ministry, said, “Our principal position on the Korean Peninsula is clear, and we want peace, stability and security in that region. And we welcome any step taken in that direction.” Ghassemi continued, “However, what we know of America and our understanding of their breaking their international commitments, we think the government of North Korea should be careful.”
Ghassemi added, “America’s policies are not limited to one in a way that one can be optimistic toward them, and the latest events [exiting the nuclear deal] confirms that.”