Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said Sunday that President Donald Trump's decertification of the nuclear deal days earlier widened the mistrust "between the global community and the United States."
Zarif, who played a key role in the 2015 deal known officially as JCPOA, including extensive diplomatic efforts with his then-U.S. counterpart, John Kerry, made the comments to CBS's "Face the Nation."
With Trump at helm, the U.S is "not just unpredictable but unreliable," he said. Referring to the absence of diplomatic engagement from the White House, he said the current "administration has decided to play in a totally different manner," adding, "there's not much courtesy left in the way the United States treats the rest of the world."
Iran, he said, is committed "not to be the first party to withdraw from this deal."
Trump's refusal to certify the nuclear accord (without evidence and against public opinion) "put the agreement in limbo without killing it off entirely," as CNN noted, as he sent it to Congress to add further restrictions on Iran and present to him "something that's very satisfactory to me," or it will face termination, he said.
According to journalist and author Eric Margolis, "There won't be much doubt about how Congress handles this hot potato. The leading senators and congressmen who will deal with the issue, like Bob Corker, Tom Cotton, and Marco Rubio, are all firmly in the pocket of pro-Israel lobbies."
If Congress decides to reimpose the sanctions that were lifted as part of the deal, it will be "a vote to kill the JCPOA, and ultimately, a vote for war," a coalition of organizations warned last week.
Sunday's "Face the Nation" also offered a platform to nuclear deal foe Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Netanyahu, whose nation is believed to have an estimated estimated 80 nuclear warheads, praised Trump's decision and called on European allies to work with the United States to fix the deal's so-called "deficiencies."
"I've always said that the greatest danger of this deal is not that Iran will violate it but that Iran will keep it," he said, calling the deal a "highway" for Iran to becoming "a terrorist rogue regime with a vast nuclear arsenal."
The leaders of France, Germany, and the United Kingdom, however, recently expressed their continued commitment to the deal, calling it "a major step towards ensuring that Iran's nuclear program is not diverted for military purposes." Kerry, for his part, praised what the deal had achieved, saying "we and [our] allies are infinitely more secure than we would be without it," and called on Congress "to be the adult in the room and act in America's genuine national security interest."
Given the developments, Win Without War is circulating a petition calling on Congress to "do the right thing, defend diplomacy, and avoid a war with Iran."