If Trump Wants to 'Talk About Our Missiles,' Says Iranian Foreign Minister, US Must Stop Pouring Theirs Into Middle East
Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif said Monday that if President Donald Trump truly wants to engage in good-faith negotiations over Iran’s ballistic missile program, his administration must stop selling tens of billions of dollars in weapons to Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and other U.S. allies in the Middle East.
Zarif, who is in New York on United Nations business, told NBC‘s Lester Holt that the influx of American weapons is “making our region ready to explode.”
“Let me ask you—who’s bombing Yemen? I believe if you want to look at the right place for those who have malign activity in our region, the United States needs to look at its own allies, not at Iran.”
—Javad Zarif, Iranian Foreign Minister
“If you want to discuss ballistic missiles, then we need to discuss the amount of weapons that are sold to our region,” said Zarif. “Last year, Iran spent $16 billion altogether on its military. We have a 82 million population… The United Arab Emirates, with a million population, spent $22 billion. Saudi Arabia—with less than half of our population—spent $67 billion, most of them are American [arms].”
“So if they want to talk about our missiles,” Zarif added, “they need first to stop selling all these weapons, including missiles, to our region.”
Watch the full interview:
Zarif said Iran would be open to negotiating over its ballistic missile program and restarting talks with the U.S. on the nuclear agreement—which President Donald Trump violated last May—if the White House lifts economic sanctions, which are primarily harming ordinary Iranians.
“It is the United States that left the bargaining table, and they’re always welcome to return,” said Zarif, who described the Trump administration’s sanctions as a form of warfare “whose main target is not military personnel, but civilians.”
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