In a post on his official twitter account on Wednesday, Zarif also said American hawkish officials’ dream of uprooting the Iranian nation would never come true.
A nation IS its people, @realdonaldtrump. Repeatedly calling Iran a “terrorist nation” reveals hostility toward an entire people & exposes the real reason for targeting them with your illegal sanctions. But US hawks’ dream of ‘uprooting the Iranian nation’ will never be realized.
— Javad Zarif (@JZarif) November 21, 2018
In his remarks on Tuesday, Trump, who was answering questions about possible punishment for Saudi Arabia over the killing of dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the kingdom’s consulate in Istanbul last month, evaded a question about defending human rights with a short sentence and then abruptly switched the subject to Iran, calling the nation terrorist.
The US needs a “counterbalance” to Iran, “and Israel needs help, too,” he said. “If we abandon Saudi Arabia, it would be a terrible mistake.”
This is not the first time that Trump has called Iran a terrorist nation. The US president has also on numerous occasions accused Iran of sponsoring terrorism.
Iran rejects the accusations, saying as one of the world’s biggest victims of terrorism, it has been fighting the menace and helping other countries in the global demand to uproot terror.
In his Tuesday remarks, Trump also said Khashoggi’s murder was an “unacceptable and horrible crime,” and that as American intelligence agencies continue to investigate the case, “it could very well be that the Crown Prince had knowledge of this tragic event.” But he went on to say, “Maybe he did and maybe he didn’t!”
Trump also underlined the benefits of good relations with Riyadh, praising the importance of maintaining the US’ $110 billion arms deal with the Saudi regime, which he said means “tremendous economic development” for the US.
“I’m not going to destroy the world economy, and I’m not going to destroy the economy for our country by being foolish with Saudi Arabia,” he said.
The remarks come after weeks of debate over whether the president would criticize the Saudis and the crown prince in response to the killing of Khashoggi who had criticized the royal family.
Trump has failed to heed calls by many in Congress, including members of his own party, for a tougher response against Saudi Arabia.
However, in a soothing measure highly viewed as tepid, the US government imposed sanctions on 17 Saudi individuals last week, including Maher Abdulaziz Mutreb, who Turkish authorities believe led a 15-man “kill team” to Istanbul to murder Khashoggi.