Tuesday, June 25:
Zarif accuses Bolton of plotting for war
(Aljazeera) Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif accused US National Security Adviser John Bolton of plotting for war against Iran.
"Wanna know why those with proven record of detesting diplomacy are suddenly interested in talks? Just read @AmbJohnBolton's 2017 recipe for destroying the #JCPOA," Zarif wrote in a Twitter post, adding a link to a 2017 article written by Bolton in the National Review.
"Iran never left the negotiation table. #B_Team dragged the US out, while plotting for war," Zarif added.
— Javad Zarif (@JZarif) June 25, 2019
Zarif has in the past said that a "B-team" including Bolton, an ardent Iran hawk, and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, could goad Trump into a conflict with Tehran.
New Pentagon chief hopes to win NATO allies' support on Iran
Acting US Defense Secretary Mark Esper said he hoped to recruit support from NATO allies for Washington's efforts to deter conflict with Iran and "open the door to diplomacy".
"Express with us the concern, outrage ... with regard to Iran's activities in the region. That would be a good first step," Esper said, when asked during his flight to Brussels what he wanted to see from allies in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.
"And then secondly, to support any range of activities we may think merit participation to help, again, deter conflict and show that we're resolute. What we're trying to do, what we want to do, to close the door to conflict and open the door to diplomacy."
US's Acting Secretary of Defense, Mark Esper, arrives for his first day in his new position at the Pentagon in Washington, DC, on June 24, 2019 [Saul Loeb/AFP]
Sanctions on Khamenei are 'a direct attack on Iran'
US sanctions against Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei are an attack against the nation, Iran's government spokesman Ali Rabiei tweeted.
"Sanctioning #the_supreme_leader, who for the first time issued Fatwa against all forms of #WMD, is a direct attack to a nation. This action will increase the unity of Iranian people," he wrote in English.
— Alirabiei (@Alirabiei_ir) June 25, 2019
Iran says 'no reason to carry out nuclear commitments unilaterally'
Iran has no reason left to carry out commitments under its 2015 nuclear deal without reciprocation from the remaining European signatories, the country's deputy foreign minister said, according to the Fars news agency.
"With attention to the promises that have not been carried out from the European side, there is no reason left for Iran to carry out its commitments unilaterally," Abbas Araqchi said, adding: "Iran has kept the window of diplomacy open by reducing its commitments incrementally."
Trump calls Iran's response 'ignorant and insulting'
Trump threatened to attack Iran in retaliation for any attacks by Tehran "on anything American," after Iran said new US sanctions precluded any diplomacy and called the White House actions "mentally retarded".
"Iran's very ignorant and insulting statement, put out today, only shows that they do not understand reality. Any attack by Iran on anything American will be met with great and overwhelming force. In some areas, overwhelming will mean obliteration," Trump said in a Twitter post.
"In some areas, overwhelming will mean obliteration."
Iran leadership doesn’t understand the words “nice” or “compassion,” they never have. Sadly, the thing they do understand is Strength and Power, and the USA is by far the most powerful Military Force in the world, with 1.5 Trillion Dollars invested over the last two years alone..
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 25, 2019
Russia accuses US of being 'reckless' with new Iran sanctions
Russia accused Washington of being reckless with new sanctions on Iran, saying Moscow stood in solidarity with Tehran.
"US authorities should think hard about where this reckless course of action can lead," the foreign ministry said in a statement. "It is capable of not only destabilising the Middle East but undermining the entire system of international security."
By introducing sanctions against Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and top military chiefs, Washington is seeking to "punish those who are not going to submit to American diktat," Moscow said.
"Russia stands in complete solidarity with the friendly people of Iran and its government," it added.
France warns Iran of 'serious mistake' in violating nuclear deal
Jean-Yves Le Drian, France's foreign minister, said Iran would be making a "serious mistake" by violating the 2015 nuclear deal in response to pressure from the US.
"French, German and British diplomacy is completely mobilised to make Iran understand that it would not be in its interest," Le Drian told parliament amid reports that Iran was preparing to abandon its commitments.
Iran to abandon more nuclear deal commitments on July 7
Iran will "resolutely" abandon more commitments under a 2015 nuclear deal with world powers on July 7, Fars News Agency reported, quoting a "note" from a top security official.
Tehran had announced on May 8 that it was suspending two of its 2015 pledges and gave Europe, China and Russia a two-month ultimatum to help Iran circumvent US sanctions and sell its oil or it would abandon two more commitments.
"As of July 7, Iran will forcefully take the second step of reducing its commitments" to the nuclear deal, Rear Admiral Ali Shamkhani, secretary of Iran's Supreme National Security Council, was quoted as saying by Fars.
This was so "countries who interpreted Iran's 'patience' with weakness and inaction realise that Iran's answer to the American drone's violation of its airspace will be no different than its reaction to devious political efforts to limit Iranian people's absolute rights," he added.