March 17, 2017
Foreign Minister Mohammad-Javad Zarif says the Americans were forced to the nuclear negotiating table by the huge turnout of voters at the last presidential elections in 2013.
He urged all Iranians to vote in the May 19 presidential elections, though he did not forecast what that would force the United States to do.
“Some people wrongly think that Iran went to the negotiating table for the [removal of] sanctions, but it was the public’s presence at the ballot box that made them [the Big Six powers] sit at the negotiating table,” Zarif told reporters in Tehran Saturday.
He did not mention that US President Barack Obama had been appealing to Iran to enter into talks from the summer of 2007, when he was a candidate, and made his first of many appeals as president in his Now Ruz message of 2009. The talks actually began in 2013 after Hassan Rohani was elected president in Iran.
Zarif expressed the hope that the Iranian people would once again show massive participation in the upcoming presidential election so that US officials and other countries that threaten Iran would understand they should speak with the Iranians with the language of respect and not sanctions and threats. He did not say anything about Iran’s government talking with respect to other governments.
Zarif said the revolution brought a tremendous benefit for Iran. “Now, we are independent; we do not need permission from East or West to set our policy agenda. Since the revolution, elections have provided a platform for the people to renew their allegiance to and confidence in the Establishment, displaying a unique version of religious democracy. Through elections, they invest their power in the Establishment, granting it legitimacy to rule,” he said.