FM: U.S. must grab chance to ‘win trust’ of Iranians

Zarif’s statement came after Obama said rejecting the nuclear deal would lead to war and destroy Washington’s credibility

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Iran’s foreign minister on Thursday called on the United States to “win the valuable trust” of Iranians after the “historic opportunity” created by Tehran’s nuclear agreement with world powers.

“It would be best to seize this historic opportunity to win the valuable trust of the Iranian people, which has been damaged through decades of hostile and wrong policies by the United States,” Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said in a statement.

He was speaking after President Barack Obama told U.S. lawmakers on Wednesday that rejecting the nuclear deal would lead to war and destroy Washington’s credibility.

Invoking the Cold War peacemaking initiatives of former U.S. Presidents John F. Kennedy and Ronald Reagan, Obama said if Congress blocked the deal, it would accelerate Tehran’s path to a bomb and severely damage America’s credibility.

Obama said “alternatives to military actions will have been exhausted once we reject a hard-won diplomatic solution that the world almost unanimously supports.”

He added: “Let’s not mince words. The choice we face is ultimately between diplomacy or some form of war. Maybe not tomorrow, maybe not three months from now, but soon.”

The 10 members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and five of their large neighbors endorsed the nuclear deal as U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said Thursday’s 70th anniversary of the Hiroshima bombing highlighted the importance of the accord in preventing the spread of atomic weapons.

In a joint statement, the foreign ministers of the ASEAN countries along with Australia, India, Japan, New Zealand and South Korea welcomed the deal with Iran struck last month as an “important resolution” that could resolve one of the world’s most pressing concerns if it is adhered to. The statement was issued on the final day of a Southeast Asian regional security forum in Malaysia.

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