Part­ing Shot Mo­ham­mad Javad Zarif

Newsweek International - - NEWSWEEK - —Su­san Mo­da­ress and Adla Mas­soud

, ’ , , has lit­tle in com­mon with Don­ald Trump. Zarif is a book­ish, Amer­i­cane­d­u­cated diplo­mat who chooses his words care­fully. But like Trump, the Ira­nian emis­sary is a pro­lific tweeter and avid deal­maker. As he once put it, “The art of a diplo­mat is to con­ceal all tur­bu­lence be­hind his smile.”

Over a 20-month pe­riod that cul­mi­nated in clos­ing a deal in July 2015, Zarif played a dom­i­nant role in Iran’s most fa­mous in­ter­na­tional agree­ment— the one con­cern­ing its nu­clear pro­gram. Be­cause of Trump, that deal could fall apart. In his ad­dress to the U.N. Gen­eral Assem­bly in Septem­ber, the self­pro­claimed “master ne­go­tia­tor” called the agree­ment “one of the worst and most one-sided trans­ac­tions” in his­tory. By Oc­to­ber 15, he re­port­edly will claim that Iran is not com­ply­ing with the deal. In late Septem­ber, we asked Zarif who was the bet­ter deal­maker, him­self or the pres­i­dent. “I guess he is,” the Ira­nian for­eign min­is­ter said. “I don’t know. I’m mod­est.” You are on the record as say­ing you are not open to rene­go­ti­at­ing the nu­clear deal. Doesn’t that po­ten­tially put Iran on a col­li­sion course with the U.S.? That wouldn’t be the first time. We’re not putting our­selves on a col­li­sion course with any­body. Oth­ers may be putting them­selves on that course. And I be­lieve they are putting them­selves on a col­li­sion course with the in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity. Ev­ery as­pect of the deal had been fully and re­peat­edly rene­go­ti­ated be­fore we reached an agree­ment. Ev­ery­body else who par­tic­i­pated in…[it] knows that if we re­open the deal to ne­go­ti­a­tion, we would be re­open­ing Pan­dora’s box, which would be im­pos­si­ble to close again. Trump prides him­self on be­ing a great deal­maker. You have been called a master ne­go­tia­tor. Are you fa­mil­iar with his book The Art of the Deal? In it, the pres­i­dent im­plies that he en­joys ne­go­ti­at­ing, al­most like it’s a hobby. How does that trans­late to the Ira­nian nu­clear agree­ment? I’m fa­mil­iar with the man who’s writ­ten the book. I’ll look at it [The

Art of the Deal]. Be­lieve me, maybe mak­ing real es­tate deals is fun and con­sid­ered a hobby, but ne­go­ti­at­ing in­ter­na­tional agree­ments is no fun. It’s much more com­pli­cated than that. I hope Pres­i­dent Trump won’t learn that the hard way.

“The art of a diplo­mat is to con­ceal all tur­bu­lence be­hind his smile.”

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