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From ‘peace and joy’ to ‘Hell will freeze over’: Best of Iranian ex-FM Zarif’s war of words with US

From ‘peace and joy’ to ‘Hell will freeze over’: Best of Iranian ex-FM Zarif’s war of words with US
Iran’s now-former Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif often used social media to spar with the US in the ongoing cold war between Washington and Tehran. RT takes a look at some of his ‘greatest hits.’

Zarif announced his surprise resignation on Instagram on Monday, apologizing for any shortcomings during his tenure. He had served as Tehran’s top diplomat since 2013, and before that as envoy at the UN (2002-2007).

Also on rt.com Iran's FM Zarif announces his resignation on his Instagram page

He was also Tehran’s chief negotiator in the process that resulted in the ‘Iran Deal’, the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) between Iran and six Western nations that was supposed to guarantee its nuclear program would remain peaceful.

After the Trump administration unilaterally withdrew from the deal in May 2018, however, Zarif found himself in a war of words with Washington – often using Trump’s favorite social media platform as the preferred vehicle for delivery of weaponized satire.

Right back at you

Responding to US Secretary Mike Pompeo in June 2018, Zarif simply rewrote the US diplomat’s belligerent statement, replacing “Iran” with “US” and citing the old proverb that “Those who live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones.”

‘Color us unimpressed’

By July, Trump was trying the same rhetorical gambit that had worked on North Korea, tweeting in all-caps that Iran should “NEVER, EVER THREATEN THE UNITED STATES AGAIN” or it would “SUFFER CONSEQUENCES” such as history had never seen.

“COLOR US UNIMPRESSED,” Zarif shot back, noting that Iran has been around for millennia and seen many empires fall, including its own.

No beauty pageant

In August, Zarif ruled out meeting Pompeo at the impending UN General Assembly session, telling reporters that “Americans lack honesty.” He then trolled Trump – who had made comments about “world peace” – by bringing up the US president’s previous career as Miss Universe organizer.

‘Never again’

Later that month, Zarif noted the 65th anniversary of the US-backed coup in Iran that had overthrown a democratic government in favor of absolutist monarchy, vowing “never again.”

Raking California forests

When Trump’s chief ally against Iran in the region, Saudi Arabia, found itself beset by accusations of brutally murdering Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi, the US president tried to deflect by accusing Iran of malfeasance. Zarif would have none of it, wondering on Twitter if Iran was also to blame for California wildfires.

‘Hell will freeze over’

Another exchange with Pompeo took place in January 2019, after the US secretary of state gave a speech in Cairo, demanding Iran become a “normal” country.

“The day Iran mimics US clients and Secretary Pompeo's ‘human rights models’ – be it the Shah or current butchers – to become a ‘normal’ country is the day hell freezes over,” Zarif replied.

‘Same bull, same bully’

A week later, the Iranian diplomat used the “10 year challenge” trend to hit out at Trump’s national security adviser – an advocate of regime change in Tehran – John Bolton, simply saying “Same bull, same bully.”

‘Dictators, butchers and extremists’

As Iran was preparing to celebrate the 40th anniversary of its 1979 Islamic Revolution, Trump once again called it out as the “world’s leading state sponsor of terror.” Zarif promptly shot back, accusing Washington of backing “dictators, butchers & extremists, who've only brought ruin to our region” out of hostility to Iran.

‘Peace and joy’

Not every tweet from the Iranian FM has been confrontational, though. In December 2018, he sent out a Christmas message of “peace and joy to all,” while quoting the Koran – though he originally mis-numbered the verse he had in mind.

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