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Pompeo should be tried before International Criminal Court for ‘economic terrorism,’ Iran foreign minister says

Iranian Foreign Minister Zarif (U.S. Department of State/Flickr)
September 23, 2019

Ahead of a meeting of the United Nations’ General Assembly, Iran’s Foreign Minister Javad Zarif called U.S. economic sanctions blocking Iranian oil sales an act of “economic terrorism” and said U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo should prepare to face trial at the International Criminal Court.

In a series of remarks reported Monday by Iran’s state-sponsored Islamic Republic News Agency, Zarif criticized economic sanctions that the U.S. has imposed on Iran since withdrawing from the Iran nuclear deal in May of 2018.

“Secretary of State Mike Pompeo should be prepared to face the consequences in the International Criminal Court,” Zarif said.

Zarif’s latest comments appeared as an attempt to point the terrorism label back at the U.S. over its sanctions, which the U.S. has increased in the wake of an alleged Iranian attack on Saudi Arabian oil sites.

He also suggested U.S. President Donald Trump is “determined not to get involved” and may be interested in a diplomatic solution but “there are others who are determined to drag him into a military conflict with Iran.”

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Zarif said Trump may have unwittingly “closed the door to negotiations” over the new round of sanctions and blamed Mark Dubowitz, the CEO of Foundation for Defense of Democracies, for inspiring the sanctions.

“Mark Dubowitz wanted to make sure that neither this president or his successor will not be able to normalize relations with Iran,” Zarif said.

Iran also accused the Foundation for Defense of Democracies of “economic terrorism” back in August.

On Monday, Dubowitz tweeted Zarif’s blame for his foundation, as a comment attached to a Washington Post article detailing Zarif’s stated unwillingness to talk with Washington.

“We will fully support normalization when the Islamic Republic of Iran acts like a normal nation and ends its support for terrorism and other destructive activities,” Dubowitz responded, according to the Daily Beast.

In a tweet, Dubowitz also pointed to Iran’s muted response on allegations of Chinese government persecution of the Muslim Uighur minority.

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“Zarif repeatedly refused to acknowledge, much less criticize, Chinese government’s internment of more than 1 million Uighur Muslims in Xinjiang,” he said.

Zarif’s use of the “economic terrorism” label and calls for Pompeo to be prosecuted before the ICC accompanied Iranian demands for a $15 billion credit for revenues it would have earned from blocked oil sales.

“Iran is requesting the $15 billion credit be extended until December at which point in time it would request $3 billion per month,” Zarif said.

Among Iranian demands, Zarif said Iran “also wants to be able to sell its oil and access the revenues made from oil sales.”

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani is expected to unveil a plan at the UN called “Coalition for Hope.” According to the Daily Beast, the plan is an Iranian proposal for energy security and maritime navigation near the Persian Gulf.