Iran's foreign minister says U.S. 'cannot expect to stay safe' while 'economic war' continues

Mohammad Javad Zarif.
(Image credit: ATTA KENARE/AFP/Getty Images)

Tehran continued its tough-talking rhetoric on Monday when Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif warned that the United States "cannot expect to stay safe" as it continues to wage an economic war against Iran.

Zarif, who helped broker the 2015 nuclear pact and is known for seeking diplomatic solutions to Iran's foreign policy problems, reportedly uncharacteristically ramped up his rhetoric on Monday. "The only solution for reducing tensions in this region is stopping that economic war," he said, adding that "whoever starts a war with us will not be the one who finishes it." His comments likely signify that Iran is hardening its stance toward the U.S. and other countries who choose to align with its policies toward Iran, The Associated Press reports. Over the weekend, Iran urged European countries not to comply with U.S. sanctions and normalize their economic relationships with Tehran.

Zarif's comments on Monday were while he was sharing a press conference with German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas, who is trying to salvage the 2015 nuclear pact along with France and the United Kingdom after the U.S. dropped out in 2017. But those countries have yet to help Iran find a way around the latest U.S. sanctions. Zarif's frustration with Europe was reportedly palpable during the press conference, as he blamed the U.S. and its allies, namely Saudi Arabia, for causing instability in the Middle East following Maas' assertion that Israel's right to exist was non-negotiable. Read more at The Associated Press.

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Tim O'Donnell

Tim is a staff writer at The Week and has contributed to Bedford and Bowery and The New York Transatlantic. He is a graduate of Occidental College and NYU's journalism school. Tim enjoys writing about baseball, Europe, and extinct megafauna. He lives in New York City.