Iran’s foreign minister on new sanctions, nuclear deal and Trump

CBS | Margaret Brennan: The Trump administration grudgingly confirmed Monday night that Iran is complying with the terms of the international nuclear deal. Hours later, it accused Iran of stirring up trouble in other ways in the Middle East — and slapped new economic sanctions on 18 Iranian individuals and groups. 

Iran’s top diplomat, Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, said the new sanctions announced by the Trump administration are poisoning already strained relations between the two countries.

“It violates the spirit of the deal. We will look at it and see whether it violates the letter of the deal, and we will act accordingly,” Zarif said in an interview with CBS News’ Margaret Brennan.

At stake is a 2015 deal to freeze Iran’s nuclear program that President Trump has repeatedly criticized as rewarding a U.S. enemy. Mr. Trump wants to scrap the deal or renegotiate it.

“President Trump said it’s a bad deal for Americans and that there are flaws in it,” Brennan said to Zarif.

“It isn’t. Well, no deal is completely acceptable to everybody,” he replied.

“You’re saying Iran is not willing to negotiate?” Brennan asked.

“This is a multilateral deal, approved by the Security Council, and it’s not a bilateral deal to be withdrawn from or to be renegotiated,” he said.

The White House accuses Iran of supporting terrorists in Syria and Iraq, but Zarif disputed that and placed blame on U.S. allies like Saudi Arabia.

“These are the countries that are producing terrorists for you. And the United States is going after Iran. I don’t know why,” Zarif said.

Another irritant: the travel ban on six majority Muslim countries, including Iran.

“What the United States has done against the Iranian people over the past several months have been really repugnant,” Zarif said.

“You think it’s up to President Trump to show some good will?” Brennan asked.

“I certainly think it is up to the U.S. government to stop sending all these hostile signals,” he said.

There are also at least three Americans detained in Iran, which Zarif acknowledged isn’t helping. The most recent is a Princeton scholar who was given a ten-year sentence for what the U.S. called fabricated charges.