Caricature by DonkeyHotey flic.kr/p/Ct4G4K https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

Today, Iran’s Foreign Minister, Javad Zarif, appeared on CBS’s “Face the Nation”. His purpose was to bleat and snivel about how bad the Trump administration is.

I’ll get right to the clip. You can see for yourself before we go on.

Here are the main points via The Hill:

“Since President Trump has been in office, he has not actually lived up to the deal,” Zarif told CBS’s Margaret Brennan in an interview airing Sunday on “Face the Nation.” “He has taken and his administration have taken every measure in order to make sure that Iran does not benefit economically from the deal.”

Zarif also warned that Iran is ready to ramp up its nuclear work if Trump pulled the U.S. out of the deal and resumed sanctions.

“We have put a number of options for ourselves and those options are ready, including options that would involve resuming at a much greater speed our nuclear activities,” he said.

Trump has set a May 12 deadline to negotiate changes to the deal with European allies. And he’s threatening to pull out if the U.S. and its allies cannot agree on “significant changes.”

Asked if Iran could trust Trump, Zarif cited the administration’s record.

“Well, I think the international community has seen that the United States and I do not want to personalize this that … the United States under this administration has not been in a mood to fulfill its obligations,” he said.

“So that makes the United States not very trustworthy.”

Actually, this guy is a lying sack of…well, something. The US has upheld it black letter obligations as approved the the Congress. The secret side deals? Probably not. The administration has made no secret that it thinks the deal is one-sided and borderline treasonous, but that is hardly a new critique. What Zarif thinks about US trustworthiness is hardly relevant. This is a regime that is a state sponsor of terror and major human right offender. Beyond that, there is actually no agreement between the United States and Iran. This was not submitted as a treaty. Even the Obama administration said it was not legally binding:

In a recent letter written by Assistant Secretary for Legislative Affairs Julia Frifield, the State Department indicates that the nuclear deal with Iran is not legally binding. It is, the letter claims, merely a set of “political commitments between Iran and the P5+1 (the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Russia, China) and the European Union.”

Back to The Hill:

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said in an interview broadcast Sunday that Tehran demands “respect” from President Trump.

When asked on CBS’s “Face the Nation” why Iran rejected a meeting between Trump and its president, Hassan Rouhani, Zarif pointed to the “very negative and insulting speech” Trump gave to the United Nations General Assembly.

“We believe that the first requirement for any bilateral meeting is mutual respect and if the president is not prepared to provide that exercise, that mutual respect, then a meeting would not produce any positive results,” he said.

“What does that mean?” host Margaret Brennan asked. “What do you want to see?”

“Respect,” he responded.

“You do not engage in negotiations by exercising disrespect for a country, for its people. For its government by openly making claims including this illusion about regime change. Then you do not leave much room for a genuine dialogue.”

Zarif also said a prisoner swap is a possibility “from a humanitarian perspective, but it requires a change of attitude” and a “change of language” from Trump.

What Zarif really wants is the for the US to kowtow, a la Obama, to this Third World shit hole that produces only misery and terrorism. Zarif clearly is linking the release of American nationals held by Iran with a continuation of the nuclear deal. That is not acceptable. At some point we need to start snatching Iranian nationals from the streets and imprisoning them under some pretense–much like the Iranians have done with American nationals–and holding them in confinement until Iran decides to make a swap. More importantly, the administration needs to make crystal clear that you travel to Iran at your own risk and as it is a terrorist state, you safety cannot be guaranteed.

More from The Hill:

“Well, I think the United States has never abandoned the idea of regime change in Iran. Now they are more explicit about stating it,” Zarif told CBS’s “Face the Nation” when asked about the appointment of National Security Adviser John Bolton and CIA Director Mike Pompeo as President Trump’s new secretary of State.

Zarif during the interview said the U.S. is accustomed to autocratic rulers in the Middle East who rely on the U.S. for support, arguing America has not been able to “impact” Iran’s people since the 1979 revolution.

“The point is they’re used to dictators in our region who rely on them. As President Trump said, we cannot live without U.S. support for two weeks,” Zarif said. “That’s the type of regime that they’re used to and that is why they so readily talk about regime change.”

You know what? A lot of Iranians are interested in regime change, too.

What is most notable here is not Zarif nor his message. The most interesting thing is the messenger: CBS. As you recall, failed novelist and Obama deputy national security adviser Ben Rhodes was behind creating what he called the “echo chamber”

The subject gained new currency this month after the New York Times Magazine, in a lengthy profile of Rhodes, quoted him as saying that the White House “created an echo chamber” to advocate for the deal, by enlisting like-minded policy groups and journalists to say “things that validated what we had given them to say.” He also made uncomplimentary remarks about journalists and the Washington foreign-policy establishment, calling the former callow and the latter infested with groupthink.

Rhodes’s brother, David, is head of CBS news operations. And just as we saw in the aftermath of Benghazi, he’s more than willing to use his position to help out his little brother. The Iran nuclear deal is in shreds and Ben Rhodes is probably in danger of losing that sweet pension he’s getting from Tehran for pushing it. So CBS is pulling out the stops to try to save the deal. Note how many tough questions Zarif gets about Iran’s role in Syria, its threats to destroy Israel, and its human rights record. Note how the fact that Iran is holding American nationals as hostages is framed totally as the fault of the US, as though civilized nations took hostages every day.