Iran has responded to US President Donald Trump's call for new nuclear negotiations covering his ballistic missile program and accused Washington of bringing the Middle East to the brink of an "explosion" by sending arms to allies sold in the Gulf.
Mohammad Javad Zarif, the Iranian foreign minister, commented in a comprehensive interview broadcast on NBC news on Monday.
He said that Iran would only sit down with the United States if it lifted the economic sanctions imposed on Tehran and joined the 2015 nuclear agreement that it had abandoned last year.
Trump had pulled the US out of the groundbreaking multilateral agreement and said he wanted to negotiate a new agreement that would also address Iran's ballistic missile program and support for armed groups in the region.
Zarif, who is visiting the United Nations in New York, told NBC that it was the US and its allies ̵
"If you want to discuss ballistic missiles, we need to discuss the amount of weapons sold to our region," he said.
"Last year, Iran spent a total of $ 16 billion on its military, and we have 82 million inhabitants." The United Arab Emirates, with one million inhabitants, spent $ 22 billion, less than half of Saudi Arabia's [Iran’s] Population – Spent 67 Billion Dollars Most of Them Are Americans [arms]
"These are American weapons that invade our region and cause our region to explode. So if you want to talk about our missiles, you must first stop selling all these weapons, including missiles, to our region.
When NBC journalist Lester Holt continued to press Zarif, referring to Iran's support for armed groups in the region, the minister raised Saudi Arabia-led interventions in Yemen and Bahrain.
"Let me ask, who is bombing Yemen? Who invades Bahrain? Who held the Prime Minister of another country? "Zarif asked.
" Are we even involved in North Africa? Why do you have chaos in Libya? Is Iran involved in Libya? … in Sudan? … in Algeria? Why do we have all these turbulences? I believe that if you want to find the right place for those who carry out malicious activities in our region, the US must deal with its own allies, not with Iran. "
Zarif, also facing US sanctions, reiterated Tehran I did not want to go to war with Washington and asked Trump to lift the paralyzing measures against Iran to start talks.
" Once these sanctions are lifted, The door is wide open for negotiations, "Zarif told the United States, who has left the negotiating table, and they can return at any time."
The year the US withdrew from the nuclear deal – a step taken by the US Washington has rejected the sanctions against Iran, including its oil and banking sectors.
In May, Washington also sent warships, bombers and thousands of other troops to the Gulf, citing unspecified Iranian threats against Iran in the final minute after Tehran became a US Spy plane allegedly invaded its airspace in June, a statement denies Washington.
To a diplomatic overture Zarif said: "It is not an overture if you decide not to commit any further aggression against a country that is capable of self-proclaiming itself To defend."
To continue resisting "aggression," Zarif said in Iranian "finding a way to circumvent pressure by relying on one's resources, abilities and talent."
The Islamic Republic, which under its various sanctions since its founding in 2000, invested in 1979 its own ballistic missiles and nuclear programs for these sanctions. But he warned: "Of course, when there is tension, there is tension for everyone – nobody is immune in a tense environment."
The new US sanctions have plunged the Iranian economy into a crisis and caused a shortage of critical medicines, Zarif said, putting the Iranian population under "tremendous humanitarian pressure".
"They are terrorizing our people, targeting ordinary Iranian civilians, which is worse than war," he added.