President Trump appeared to tone down recent U.S. rhetoric against Iran over the weekend during an official trip to Japan, saying he was not seeking regime change in Iran and was simply interested in preventing the country from developing nuclear weapons. Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif rebuked Trump’s statements Monday, saying Iran was not seeking nuclear arms, saying via Twitter, “#EconomicTerrorism is hurting the Iranian people & causing tension in the region. Actions—not words—will show whether or not that’s @realDonaldTrump’s intent.” The U.S. pulled out of the landmark 2015 Iran nuclear deal last year, despite European allies and the United Nations saying Iran was in full compliance.
On Friday, Trump said he was sending 1,500 more troops to the Middle East, a move Zarif characterized as “dangerous” and said “must be countered.” Zarif met with his Iraqi counterpart over the weekend as both parties urged regional cooperation in the face of escalating tensions with the U.S. This is Iraqi Foreign Minister Mohamed Alhakim.
Mohamed Alhakim: “We are clearly saying that we are against the unilateral measures taken by the United States. We are completely against these instructions and orders given to our neighbor Iran. We are standing by neighboring Iran in its position, and, God willing, we can play an intermediary role between the parties, if asked, from Iraq.”