Iran Open To Talks On Prisoners If US Shifts 'Attitude,' Zarif Says

An old military vehicle on the Israeli side of the border with Syria near Magdal Shams

Iran Open To Talks On Prisoners If US Shifts 'Attitude,' Zarif Says

Asked how Iran would respond if the president walked away from the deal, Zarif said the country was prepared.

Zarif said Saturday that "we will not make concessions, and I do not think people can put pressure on Iran".

Speaking at the gathering, the prime minister referred to the Iranian foreign minister's claims that Israel is violating worldwide law, saying "This is the foreign minister of a country that sends armed drones into Israel and fires missiles at Saudi Arabia".

The nuclear deal, signed by France, Britain, Germany, Russia and China, in addition to the United States and Iran, restricts the quantity and quality of nuclear facilities Iran can have for use in a strictly peaceful power production and research program for a number of years, and imposes strict worldwide monitoring.

"The situation is creating an impression globally that agreements don't matter".

Earlier, Donald Trump threatened to pull out of the nuclear treaty with Iran unless the document is stiffened and new restrictions are imposed on the Iranian missile programme till May 12.

Trump in January set a 120-day deadline for United States lawmakers and European allies to "fix" the nuclear deal or face a U.S. exit.

Rome also says there is no guarantee that new punitive measures from the European Union would ensure Trump does not walk away from the nuclear accord anyway. He noted that CIA Director Mike Pompeo recently said in testimony at his confirmation hearing to become secretary of state that Iran was not "racing towards a bomb".

Negotiations are a "possibility certainly from a humanitarian perspective, but it requires a change of attitude", Zarif said in an interview with CBS television's Face the Nation set to air Sunday.

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But, more strikingly, Zarif makes clear that when he says "nuclear activity", he does not mean a nuclear weapons program-something that before the worldwide agreement negotiated under President Barack Obama and his secretary of state John Kerry the Iranians had insisted they were not pursuing.

This comes ahead of a meeting between Trump and French President Emmanuel Macron on Tuesday. Zarif showed little optimism about such efforts, saying "to try to appease the President would be an exercise in futility". "Unfortunately, it hasn't been doing that".

"The conducting talks under "what's mine is mine principle" and what's yours - can be discussed", he explained.

"It will lead to USA isolation in the worldwide community", Zarif said. Tehran blamed Israel and vowed unspecified retaliation, drawing Israeli counter-threats to broaden attacks on Iranian military assets in Syria.

"It's very important for Iran to receive the benefits of the agreement", he said. In 2016, after months of secret talks between Iranian and United States officials, Iran released four Americans in exchange for the U.S. releasing seven Iranians in American jails.

Five Americans are held in Tehran, including Baquer Namazi, 81, who is in failing health.

Zarif said that Tehran was considering many options should Washington leave the deal, and could restart its nuclear activities.

The Iranian regime has been heavily criticised in recent months for its role in propping up the Syrian president, Bashar al-Assad, despite his complicity in the death of thousands of civilians and his willingness to use chemical weapons against his own people.

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