Democrat Sen. Dianne Feinstein just had dinner with him. Beto O'Rourke sounds just like him. And this week, CNN interviewed him. He's Iran Foreign Minister Javad Zarif, and he's getting quite a lot of face time lately.
In his interview with CNN's Fred Pleitgen, Zarif said quite a lot that was clearly designed for Democrat ears. He goaded Trump, he bashed National Security Advisor John Bolton and Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and he praised Obama's Iran Deal. He even snarked about the electoral college.
It wasn't all so, uh, tame, though. No, in addition to suggesting that Trump and Bolton are provoking a war, ominously suggesting that accidents, then correcting to "incidents" tend to happen in the Persian Gulf, where a U.S. Carrier Strike group was just sent, and warning that the United States is playing a "dangerous game" that could have "painful consequences", he also said that our policy toward Iran is "terrorism."
Not "like" terrorism, and not "economic" terrorism, as some outlets have characterized his comments. Just terrorism, point blank.
Watch this excerpt from CNN's interview (which you can find in full at the end of this post):
"Economic war means targeting Iranian people, targeting ordinary citizens, trying to deprive them of their means of livelihood. That amounts to terrorism," said Zarif.
After he finished his lengthy remarks about how the United States is to blame, CNN's Pleitgen followed up on that important point by asking if Zarif takes President Trump's tweets seriously. Seriously, watch.
"Do you take tweets by President Trump seriously?" he asked pointedly.
He was referencing Trump's tweet from last week, where he said that threatening the U.S. would be an "official end to Iran."
Helpfully, Pleitgen added, "Or has it come to the point where you don't take it seriously because the message keeps changing?"
At two other points in the interview, Pleitgen was equally helpful, as he prompted the foreign minister to theorize about who is "actually" calling the shots in American foreign policy. The idea that Bolton is pulling all the strings is very popular in the cable news crowd this week.
Pleitgen did press for ask a few questions of Zarif that weren't about how bad and provoking Trump and Bolton are, including whether the country takes any responsibility for threats or attacks against the U.S. or its allies. Zarif said they don't.
You can watch the entire interview at CNN by clicking here.