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Iran's foreign minister called a 'liar' in parliament over US sanctions negotiations

Javad Zarif had to defend himself [Getty]

Date of publication: 6 July, 2020

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Zarif was heckled during a parliamentary session in Iran over negotiations with the US on sanctions.





Iran's foreign minister was called a "liar" and heckled in a parliamentary session on Sunday over his past talks with the US on crippling sanctions.

Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif - viewed as a moderate - addressed the newly elected conservative-heavy parliament for the first time, but hardline MPs made a point of interrupting him.

The speaker was forced to restore order after Zarif was accused of selling out the country by negotiating with the US over the nuclear deal in 2015.

The explosive show of anger went on for several minutes, The Guardian reported, and demonstrates the divisiveness in parliament that could cause problems in upcoming negotiations with the US administration and Donald Trump.

Zarif engaged with his critics and defended his actions, before renewing his support for Qassem Soleimani.

"You can say whatever you want, but the martyr Suleimani and I had weekly meetings. We coordinated with each other every week. In regional talks, whatever we did we coordinated with each other. Those who know Soleimani… and the Iraqi, Lebanese and Palestinian resistance, they know, and not you," he said during the heated back-and-forth.

"I even want to thank you for your sharp criticisms, but you should know we are in the same boat. We are all in this together. The US does not recognise [the difference between] liberals, reformists and conservatives, revolutionaries and non-revolutionaries."

Regarding his actions during the negotiations with the US, Zarif insisted that the nuclear deal had been agreed by the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

"If I lied, he head and said it was the truth. If I told the truth, he heard and said it was bravery," Zarif said.

Javad Karimi Qudussi, an hardline MP joined a chorus of others who chanted "death to a liar" during Zarif’s speech.

US pushes for ‘indefinite’ arms embargo

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is urging the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) to indefinitely extend an arms embargo on Iran before it expires in October, signalling an increasingly hostile relations between the two countries.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo circulated a draft resolution to the 15-member council that would indefinitely extend the arms embargo on Tehran.

Russia and China, who both back Iran, have already expressed their opposition to the resolution, and given the two powers' veto powers making Washington's bid for an extension unlikely to pass.

"Don't just take it from the United States, listen to countries in the region. From Israel to the Gulf, countries in the Middle East - who are most exposed to Iran's predations - are speaking with one voice: Extend the arms embargo," Pompeo told a virtual Security Council meeting.

Washington has steadily ramped up pressure on Iran over its civilian nuclear power developments, which the US and Israel allege is cover for a weapons programme.

The arms embargo under the 2015 nuclear deal brokered by former US president Barack Obama is set to end in October.

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