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Iran's Zarif Faces Death Threats Over Nuclear Deal

Iran's Zarif Faces Death Threats Over Nuclear Deal

TEHRAN — Both at home and abroad, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has become the public face of his country's willingness to sign a deal with the West to limit its nuclear program.

The Vienna accord, inked in July, has also made Zarif the main target of Iran's religious hardliners, whom he confirmed Wednesday have threatened him directly. "Whatever I do, there is a cost for me in the country," Zarif said in an interview with the reformist daily Shargh, admitting that he had "been threatened, though a shooting is unlikely."

The foreign minister suggested that verbal attacks, including complaints that he had shaken hands with President Barack Obama, were intended to "strike at" the policies of reformist President Hassan Rouhani, and its "most potent" arm, the foreign ministry.

Yet Zarif also described as "perfectly understandable" hostility to any rapprochement with the West and the United States given the "great injustices" inflicted on Iran in the past.

He also used the interview with Shargh to explictly rebut claims that Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei was displeased with the nuclear deal, adding that his support should be "a reference" for all politicians.

Zarif said Khamenei was "certainly" informed during the negotiations, though he "did not interfere (in the) details."

Photo: Ahmad Halabisaz/Xinhua via ZUMA

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Geopolitics

How Ukraine Keeps Getting The West To Flip On Arms Supplies

The open debate on weapon deliveries to Ukraine is highly unusual, but Kyiv has figured out how to use the public moral suasion — and patience — to repeatedly shift the question in its favor. But will it work now for fighter jets?

Photo of a sunset over the USS Nimitz with a man guiding fighter jets ready for takeoff

U.S fighter jets ready for takeoff on the USS Nimitz

Pierre Haski

-Analysis-

PARIS — In what other war have arms deliveries been negotiated so openly in the public sphere?

On Monday, a journalist asked Joe Biden if he plans on supplying F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine. He answered “No”. A few hours later, the same question was asked to Emmanuel Macron, about French fighter jets. Macron did not rule it out.

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Visiting Paris on Tuesday, Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksïï Reznikov recalled that a year ago, the United States had refused him ground-air Stinger missiles deliveries. Eleven months later, Washington is delivering heavy tanks, in addition to everything else. The 'no' of yesterday is the green light of tomorrow: this is the lesson that the very pragmatic minister seemed to learn.

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