Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has said Tehran is not seeking nuclear weapons as tensions escalate with the United States. Zarif’s remarks on May 27 came the same day that U.S. President Donald Trump said Washington was not seeking regime change in Iran but wanted to ensure Tehran did not produce nuclear arms.
Zarif said in a tweet that “we’re not seeking nuclear weapons,” adding that Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei had issued a fatwa “banning them.” He said that U.S. “economic terrorism” was “hurting the Iranian people and causing tension in the region.”
Trump said the United States was “not looking regime change, we’re looking for no nuclear weapons,” following talks with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in Tokyo, adding that he thought “we’ll make a deal” with Tehran over its nuclear program.
Relations between Tehran and Washington have plummeted since the United States a year ago pulled out of a 2015 nuclear accord between world powers and Iran that curbed the country’s nuclear program in exchange for relief from crippling economic sanctions.
Since then, Washington has reimposed sanctions, stepped up its rhetoric, and beefed up its military presence in the Middle East, prompting growing concerns of a possible military conflict with Iran. (RFERL)