(Persia Digest) – A former high-ranking US diplomat believes: A move by hardliners like Bolton and Pompeo to sanction Zarif is to ensure that there is no bridge to a Trump meeting with Iranian leaders.

The US Treasury has placed the Iranian foreign minister on its list of sanctions. Steven Mnuchin said “Javad Zarif implements the reckless agenda of Iran’s Supreme Leader and is the regime’s primary spokesperson around the world.” Zarif is sanctioned while Donald Trump has repeatedly said that he is ready to talk with Iran without preconditions.

Persia Digest (PD) has opened a dossier to discuss the above with analysts of international relations. What follows is an interview with Charles W Freeman, American diplomat, author, and former US Ambassador to Saudi Arabia.

What is the aim of the Trump Administration in sanctioning the Iranian Foreign Minister?

This appears to be a move by hardliners like Bolton and Pompeo to ensure that there is no bridge to a Trump meeting with Iranian leaders.

Is sanctioning Javad Zarif not contradictory with US requests for talks with Iran?

That's the point.  It's designed to frustrate those pushing for diplomacy as opposed to pure coercion.

Javad Zarif was sanctioned following a tweet by Trump saying: “The Iranians never won a war, but never lost a negotiation.” Is it possible to conclude that Trump now tends towards war instead of negotiations? Or this is a continuation of his maximum pressure policy and threats?

It is impossible to determine what the erratic Mr. Trump intends.

Are other countries obliged to follow in US footsteps to sanction Zarif? How will this limit trips by Iran’s Foreign Minister?

I doubt other countries will follow this idiotic move.

Charles W “Chas” Freeman Jr is an American diplomat and former US Ambassador to Saudi Arabia. He is the author of a number of titles including ‘America’s Continuing Misadventures in the Middle East’ and ‘Arts of Power: Statecraft and Diplomacy’


Read more:

Zarif: Iran will take third step in scaling back obligations permitted under the JCPOA

Sanctions on FM Zarif aim to curtail Iranian diplomacy

FM Zarif received invitation to the Oval Office

Pompeo mocked by former staff of US National Security Council


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