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Iranian FM Wants 'Respect' From US     04/22 10:08

   Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif accused the U.S. government of 
arrogance and belligerence, saying that Washington needed "a change in 
attitude" before any meaningful negotiations can begin over several U.S. 
citizens being held prisoner in Iran.

   WASHINGTON (AP) -- Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif accused the 
U.S. government of arrogance and belligerence, saying that Washington needed "a 
change in attitude" before any meaningful negotiations can begin over several 
U.S. citizens being held prisoner in Iran.

   "It is important... for the (Trump) administration to show the ability to 
engage in a respectful dialogue," Zarif said. "The United States needs to learn 
how to treat other sovereign nations, particularly sovereign nations who do not 
depend on the United States for continued existence."

   Zarif spoke to CBS' Face the Nation on Friday; the full interview will be 
broadcast Sunday and portions of the transcript were made available to The 
Associated Press.

   At least five Iranians, all dual-American citizens or green-card holders, 
have been sentenced to prison in Iran on espionage-related charges, as has 
Chinese-American Princeton graduate student Xiyue Wang.

   Zarif said his government is open to talks on a prisoner release --- 
particularly on health or humanitarian grounds; one of the prisoners, Baquer 
Namazi, is 81 and in poor health. But he said the current American attitude 
makes such negotiations impossible.

   "You do not engage in negotiations by exercising disrespect for a country, 
for its people, for its government," he said. "Then you do not leave much room 
for a genuine dialogue."

   President Donald Trump has had an antagonistic relationship with Tehran 
since before his election. Trump campaigned partially on his strong opposition 
to the 2015 nuclear agreement with Iran signed by his predecessor Barack Obama.

   Most recently Trump has vowed to withdraw from the agreement by May 12 
unless U.S., British, French and German negotiators can agree to fix what he 
sees as its serious flaws.


(KA)

 
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