Iran Minister: Islamic State Won’t Be Eradicated by Aerial Bombardments
NEW YORK—Sunni extremist group Islamic State cannot be destroyed by Western bombing attacks, Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif said Wednesday.
Speaking at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York, Mr. Zarif said the best thing a U.S.-led coalition can do to fight Islamic State, formerly known as ISIS or ISIL, is to cut off the sources of assistance and financial support that go to the extremist group.
He said Iran doesn’t trust the U.S.’s willingness to fight Islamic State across the region.
Islamic State “will not be eradicated by aerial bombardments,” he said, adding that the threat posed by the group cannot be contained to Iraq and Syria alone. It is “a global threat,” he said.
Mr. Zarif said the U.S. cannot successfully fight the Assad regime and Islamic State simultaneously in Syria.
He said Iran didn’t hesitate to offer help to Iraq when Islamic State made gains but said neither Tehran nor Western countries should send troops into Iraq.
“Foreign forces will not be able to uproot this menace from the region,” he said.
On Iran’s nuclear talks, Mr. Zarif said he was committed to reaching a final agreement with the six major powers.
He said Iran wouldn’t accept a nuclear deal lasting 10 or 15 years, “but I’m willing to live with less.”
He also said if Tehran agrees to give the United Nations atomic agency access to the Parchin military site, where Western officials suspect Iran conducted tests related to developing nuclear weapons, it would set limits on that search.
Mr. Zarif said Iran has already allowed the International Atomic Energy Agency to visit Parchin twice and if it allows a future visit, we will be “having a very serious conversation with them about the limits of this [search].”
Iran says its nuclear program is entirely peaceful. It is currently negotiating with the U.S., U.K., France, Germany, Russia and China on a final nuclear deal that would offer significant constraints on Tehran’s future activities in exchange for a lifting of international sanctions.