US wants regime change in Iran: Zarif

MUNICH (AA) – Iranian foreign minister accused the U.S. on Saturday for seeking a regime change in his country, lowering expectations for direct talks between Washington and Tehran.

Speaking at a panel session at the Munich Security Conference, Javad Zarif said the possibility of direct negotiations between the U.S. and Iran would depend on President Donald Trump.

“Unfortunately the suggestions by Macron, and by Abe, and others…all have fallen on deaf ears,” he said, referring to diplomatic efforts by French President and Japanese Prime Minister last year, who sought to resolve tension between the U.S and Iran through negotiations.

“President Trump […] has been convinced that we are about to collapse. So he doesn’t want to talk to a collapsing regime. I think he is wrong,” Zarif said.

“I think that they say that it’s not about a regime change. But that’s everything they want,” he added.

Zarif demanded that the U.S. acknowledges the Iranian state, and its role in the region.

“They have wanted [regime change] for the past 41 years. And they have failed for the past 41 years. They just have to admit that Iran is a reality in this region,” he said.

Tensions have risen between the U.S. and Iran since May 2018, when President Trump decided to unilaterally withdrew from the landmark nuclear deal between world powers and Tehran.

The Trump administration has since embarked on a diplomatic and economic campaign to put pressure on Iran in order to renegotiate the agreement.

In January, the U.S. killed top Iranian general Qasem Soleimani in a missile attack in Baghdad, triggering further tensions between the two foes.