Mohammad Javad Zarif
Iran’s foreign minister accused Israel yesterday of looking for war and warned that its actions and those of the US were increasing the chances of a clash in the region.

Addressing the Munich Security Conference, Mohammad Javad Zarif also criticised the US administration after US Vice-President Mike Pence this week called on European powers to pull out of the nuclear deal with Iran. Zarif urged France, Germany and Britain to do more to save that accord.

“Certainly, some people are looking for war Israel,” Zarif said. “The risk is great. The risk will be even greater if you continue to turn a blind eye to severe violations of international law.”

Accusing Israel of violating international law after bombing campaigns in Syria, Zarif criticised European powers for not calling out Israel and the US for their behaviour in the region.

“Israeli behaviour is putting international law on the shelf, US behaviour is putting international law on the shelf,” he said.

Speaking to his cabinet yesterday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Iranian belligerence was the main destabilising factor throughout the Middle East.

“We must deny Iran nuclear weaponry and block its military entrenchment in Syria. We will continue taking constant action to ensure Israel’s security,” Netanyahu said.

Pence accused Iran on Friday of Nazi-like anti-Semitism, maintaining his harsh rhetoric against Tehran.

Zarif said the US had an “unhealthy” and “pathological obsession” with Iran and he accused Pence of trying to bully his allies.

“All in the name of containing Iran, the US claims, and some blindly parrot, that it is Iran that is interfering in the region, but has it been asked whose region?” Zarif said.

“Look at the map, the US military has travelled 10000km to dot all our borders with its bases. There is a joke that it is Iran that put itself in the middle of US bases.”

Zarif, who said Iran was committed for now to the 2015 nuclear deal with world powers, also accused France, Britain and Germany of not doing enough to ensure that Tehran received the economic benefits of that accord.

These three countries this month set up the Instrument In Support Of Trade Exchanges, a new channel for non-dollar trade with Iran to avoid US sanctions. But diplomats believe it unlikely to allow the big transactions Tehran needs to keep a nuclear deal afloat. The US’s major European allies opposed last year’s decision by US President Donald Trump to scuttle the deal. Reuters