As US sanctions against Iran resume Aug. 6 after the US exit from the 2015 nuclear deal, Iran’s top diplomat struck an upbeat tone with reporters.
“Today we are not under a crisis situation, rather, we have put a crisis situation behind us,” said Mohammad Javad Zarif on the occasion of Journalists’ Day.
Zarif said that before the nuclear deal between Iran and five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council plus Germany, European nations used to sanction Iran even more aggressively than the United States did.
He continued, “Today, when the US sanctions us, other countries do not follow, and it is America that has been isolated.” Zarif added, “Today, everyone talks about the isolation of [US President Donald] Trump, [Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu and [Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed] bin Salman.” He emphasized, “We are certain that we will pass through this stage.”
Zarif also rejected US claims that they are trying to help the people of Iran, saying that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s meeting with Iranians in California was with “80% non-Iranians.” Zarif asked rhetorically that if the United States cares so much about Iran, “Why were the first sanctions [reimposed] on airplanes?”
Zarif accused the United States of having the primary policy of “creating domestic chaos.” He conceded that the United States successfully created an atmosphere depicting a negative economic situation inside Iran but said that “the economic reality is not like this.” He criticized the media for its coverage in reinforcing the negative narrative about the Iranian economy.
On the possibility of new US-Iran negotiations, Zarif said, “The supreme leader said that if the negotiations go well, we can negotiate on other issues. The nuclear deal came about from the efforts of many people. The US Secretary of State [John Kerry] was outside of his country for 18 days and negotiated nine continuous hours. After all of this, [the United States] voided the deal. Can someone like this be negotiated with?”
Zarif urged journalists to “put aside painting a dark picture and creating hopelessness.” He stressed, “The country is truly in a good situation, we have passed through much more difficult situations.”
While Zarif attempted to depict a rosy picture of the state of the Iranian economy, Iranian officials have been working to reverse the plunging currency. The market and economists mostly welcomed a new economic policy by Iran’s central bank lifting restrictions on exchange rates.
In addition to new exchange rate policies, Iran’s judiciary is aggressively and publicly pursuing cases of economic corruption. The most high profile arrest to take place recently has been of Ahmad Araghchi, the former deputy for currency exchange at the central bank. Araghchi, who was appointed to the important position one year ago, is the nephew of Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araghchi. Ahmad’s lack of work experience has brought about accusations of nepotism.
According to Gholam Hossein Mohseni Ejei, the spokesman for the judiciary, 45 individuals have been arrested “for economic corruption” in recent days since the statements by grand ayatollahs calling for “swift and firm action.” Nasser Shabani, a senior commander for the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, said that 13 individuals had also been arrested who have links to the intelligence services of the United Arab Emirates. Shabani said these individuals were ordered to purchase dollars and transfer them to Iraq.