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President Donald Trump will not force Iran to surrender to economic pressure in the US because Tehran has "a doctoral degree against sanctions," he said Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif on Thursday.
On a visit to New York, the top Iranian diplomat also said that his country would do so, do not seek confrontation with the United States or try to cut the Strait of Hormuz unless Washington succeeded in a total economic blockade to enforce.
President Donald Trump "believes that the policy of maximum pressure will bring Iran to its knees," Zarif said. "Iran will not accept pressure."
Zarif said his country has decades of experience bypassing US economic sanctions and would be able to survive this final round of pressure. "We have a PhD in lifting sanctions," he said.
Iran has so far managed to meet the needs of its people and has continued to sell oil, Zarif said, although he admitted that the sanctions had caused economic damage and caused pain to Iranian citizens.
The Trump government's policy is to harass other governments, he said, predicting that some countries would not give in to the pressure, citing public criticism of Turkey's sanctions.
Zarif's comments came days after the Trump administration announced it would lift waivers that allowed several countries to import Iranian oil and vowed to reduce Tehran's oil exports to zero growing tensions with the US but said that could change if Washington succeeded in closing the country's economy completely.
"We do not want to escalate, this is our intention." The attack on Hormuz and the Persian Gulf is our lifeline, "he said.
"If the United States decides or seeks to disrupt this by preventing us from using our own waters to promote our national economic interests, it will change the overall balance and the overall equation," he said ,
"If Iran can not sell oil, if it can not import what it wants, then we will not have any interest in the security of the Persian Gulf."
Zarif added, "Our red line is that We need to be able to provide for our people. "
Asked about the fate of Iranian-American detainees and other dual nationals imprisoned in Iran, Zarif said he remains open for negotiations on the exchange of prisoners in both countries but Washington still has to react to his offer. He said he made the offer six months ago.
"I have not heard from the government," he said.
Zarif cited a letter from President US Special Envoy Robert O. "Brien, which demanded the release of Americans held in Iran.
" Do you know what this letter says? He said, "Please dismiss them." He offered nothing, "he said. "You can not expect unilateral concessions."
Zarif also said he did not believe that President Trump was going to war with Iran, but other members of the government wanted to overthrow the Iranian government, including national security adviser John Bolton. 19659006] "Ambassador Bolton has a different agenda," he said.
Zarif flew to New York after blaming US financial sanctions for restricting aid flows to large-scale flood victims, which killed dozens and submerged cities in a wide area of Iran. The Iranian Red Crescent said US sanctions have prevented donations from abroad.
But US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said last week that Washington is ready to provide assistance through the Red Cross or the Red Crescent, accusing Tehran of abusing the human abuse crisis.
The floods affected 25 out of 31 provinces, and Iranian officials said at least 76 people were killed in the deluge.