I’ve been respecting freedom of expression for over 30 years

Tehran, May 1, IRNA – Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif answered some Iranian critics about his interview with Charlie Rose, but his main complaint in this response is about those who have criticized him about not respecting freedom of expression.

Zarif in his Facebook page has asked his Iranian critics to at least hear the full text of his interview before writing about it.

The text of Zarif’s Facebook letter, which originally appears in Persian language, is as follows:

Hello Friends

Happy Laborers Day!

Also happy Imam Ali’s birth anniversary and Fathers Day in advance

And happy Friday evening for all dear citizens

It is a strange world. A group of warmongers on this side of the world are spending their best to prevent any possible agreement. They take advantage of any pretext to present a dark image of Iran and the Iranians aimed at lighting the flames of disputes.

During the course of the past days in addition to the tough and lengthy negotiations and meetings, I also had two tough and challenging interviews with two of the most famous reporters. One of them lasted 70 minutes and the other one about two hours.

Due to the tough atmosphere created inside the country, I have to quite humbly tell you that the opponents in Iran and abroad were angered due to the effective influence of these interviews and wrote several articles about it.

A hardliner website, wrote in its headline: ‘Iran’s Top Diplomat dazzled New York City’.

A Zionist site, too, angrily wrote a title that read: Why does he seem so inviting?

Maybe dozens of articles were written in such famous newspapers and magazines as the New York Times, the Washington Post, the New Yorker, and… all on those two interviews.

Even a hardline US senator got so angry that he picked at me resorting to my absence in the warfronts.

On the other hand, to provide food for the internal use, an Egyptian daily interpreted my clear rejection and a single ‘No!’ word in response to a question on dialogue with the Zionist regime, and told a lie that it meant Iran’s readiness for talking with Israel, which was also echoed by some people inside the country.

Strangest than all, was some Iranians’ reaction inside the country and abroad, who resorting to my clear, precise and necessary response to a question on reporter’s arrest – whose status has nowadays provided a pretext for issuance of several amendments against the nuclear agreement – to write lengthy articles in that respect and some (Iranian) friends, too, having not heard the question and answer treated me most kindly!

Dear friends! The viewpoints of this humble servant – if they are worthy and of any significance – are quite clear on internal and international affairs, and contrary to some friends whose viewpoints and stances have had 180 degree changes during the course of the past 3 decades, they are thirty some years old.

I have always respected the freedom of expression and welcomed criticism against my thoughts, words, and deeds, from the university classes to the foreign policy. But I have always humbly said that criticism in a healthy society needs to have two characteristics: being just, and observing the national interests.

The prerequisite for a just criticism is being properly informed. Before criticizing something, at least once completely hear the full text of what you intend to criticize.

The necessity of observing the national interests, too, call for not to fuel the engine of the foreign warmongers who resort to such pretexts as not going to the warfronts, or seizing a violator ship, or arresting a few people, to continue the tension build new crises.

Please forgive me for the straight-forward tone of this letter. I have never intended to annoy anyone with my words in any faction, or belonging to any viewpoint in the country. My intention has always been defending the national interests of Iran and the Iranians and God willing, it will be so also in the future.