US says ready to talk but Iran dismisses the offer as ‘word-play’ | News

Washington is willing to speak with Iran “with no preconditions”, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Sunday, but Iran dismissed the offer as “word-play”.

“We are prepared to engage in a conversation with no preconditions. We are ready to sit down with them,” Pompeo told a joint news conference in Switzerland with Swiss Foreign Minister Ignazio Cassis.

“The American effort to fundamentally reverse the malign activity of this Islamic Republic, this revolutionary force, is going to continue,” Pompeo added.

Iran’s foreign ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi responded by saying: “The Islamic Republic of Iran does not pay attention to word-play and expression of hidden agenda in new forms.”

Meanwhile, Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani presented the offer of talks with no pre-conditions as a sign of Iran’s strength.

“The enemies sometimes say they have conditions for negotiations with Iran … but in recent weeks they said they have no conditions. They threatened us as if they were a military superpower, but now they say they do not seek a war,” he said.

Rouhani also said it was up to the US to return to the negotiating table and resume compliance with the 2015 nuclear deal with world powers to curb Tehran’s nuclear programme in return to the lifting of sanctions.

“The other side that left the negotiating table and breached a treaty should return to normal state,” he said in comments reported on the government website.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo

Pompeo made the remarks at a joint news conference in Switzerland with Swiss Foreign Minister Ignazio Cassis [Arnd Wiegmann/Reuters]

Pompeo’s latest comments come amid continuing tensions between Washington and Tehran.

Al Jazeera’s Rosiland Jordan, reporting from Washington DC, said Pompeo’s remarks could not be called a turning point but they showed “the softening of the White House message about Iran”.

“There are people in Trump’s administration who argue that diplomacy should be the first line of defence,” she said.

“Certainly it is significant that Mike Pompeo, who has also been seen as a hardliner on dealing with Iran, would be saying multiple times during the press conference: ‘No preconditions, we are ready to talk’.”




US-Iran tensions: Lessons from past gulf wars (02:18)

Al Jazeera’s Zein Basravi, reporting from Tehran, said it was still unlikely that the development would result in talks.

“We have been watching both Iran and the United States in the past several weeks and months ratchet up the pressure and then walk back from their very stern and aggressive positions towards each other,” he said.

“So while there does seem to be a noted softening of positions on both sides – they are no longer walking towards the brink of war – the questions that Tehran’s leaders and strategists are asking themselves is what the talks with the United States actually be about. Iran said over and over again that it will not renegotiate a nuclear deal.”

‘Bullied into negotiations’

On Saturday, Rouhani suggested Iran may be willing to hold talks if the United States showed its respect.

Rouhani said Tehran would not be “bullied” into negotiations with Washington, the semi-official Fars news agency reported.

“We are for logic and talks if [the other side] sits respectfully at the negotiating table and follows international regulations, not if it issues an order to negotiate,” Fars news agency cited Rouhani as saying.

“We have shown that we do not submit to bullying and covetous powers,” he said.

US National Security Advisor John Bolton said on Thursday Washington would present evidence linking Iran to attacks on oil tankers off the coast of the United Arab Emirates earlier this month.

The alleged evidence would be presented to the United Nations Security Council as early as next week, Bolton said, reiterating earlier claims suggesting that Iran was behind the May 12 attack on four commercial ships in the Gulf.

“I don’t think anybody who is familiar with the situation in the region, whether they have examined the evidence or not, has come to any conclusion other than that these attacks were carried out by Iran or their surrogates,” Bolton told reporters in London.

On Wednesday, Bolton, without offering evidence, alleged the tankers were targeted by “naval mines almost certainly from Iran”.

Tehran rejected the accusation as “ridiculous” and has repeatedly denied any involvement in the incident.

US President Donald Trump, who unilaterally pulled the US out of a landmark deal curbing Iran’s nuclear programme, has tightened sanctions on Tehran, eliminating waivers that had allowed some countries to buy Iranian oil, with the goal of reducing the country’s crude exports to zero.

The US also designated the IRGC a “terrorist organisation” in April.

Last month, Washington deployed bombers and warships to the Middle East, citing “credible threats” from Iran. It did not offer evidence for the claim and Tehran dismissed the move as “psychological warfare”.

The B-52 bombers arrived at a US airbase in Qatar, US Central Command (CENTCOM) said, while the carrier USS Abraham Lincoln was sent to the Arabian Sea.




Is the US media beating the drums of war on Iran? | The Listening Post (10:30)

Source

more recommended stories

  • North Korea test-fires missiles again after joint drills end | North Korea News

    North Korea fired two suspected short-range.

  • Amazon burning: Bolsonaro prepares to send army as outrage grows | Brazil News

    Under increasing international pressure to contain.

  • Canada bars consulate staff from travelling outside Hong Kong | Canada News

    The Canadian consulate in Hong Kong.

  • Ghana: Homecoming for African Americans | slavery

    Accra, Ghana – Afia Khalia Tweneboa.

  • Empty buses in Bangladesh as no Rohingya turn up for repatriation | News

    Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh – Ambia is.

  • Hong Kong police in standoff with protesters after sit-in | News

    Hong Kong riot police faced off.

  • Baffled Danes mock Trump after he scraps trip over Greenland | News

    President Donald Trump‘s decision to call.

  • Two killed in first Kashmir gun battle since lockdown began | India News

    Two people, including a police official.

  • Trump slammed for saying any Jew voting Democratic is ‘disloyal’ | USA News

    Activists, politicians and many within the.

  • Kashmir tensions: ‘War is not a solution’ | Kashmir News

    There is brewing conflict between nuclear-armed.

  • Indonesia’s Jokowi urges calm after violent West Papua protests | Indonesia News

    Indonesian President Joko Widodo has sought.

  • Danish PM: Trump’s idea of buying Greenland is ‘absurd’ | News

    Denmark‘s prime minister has said Greenland is.

  • Iran tanker departs after Gibraltar rejects US demand | Iran News

    The Iranian oil tanker at the.

  • Iceland bids farewell to first glacier lost to climate change | News

    With poetry, moments of silence and.

  • Former Malaysian PM Najib Razak in court for money laundering | Malaysia News

    Former Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak.

  • Blast at wedding in Afghan capital wounds at least 20: hospital | Afghanistan News

    An explosion has ripped through a.

  • Sudan protest leaders, military sign transitional government deal | News

    Sudan‘s main opposition coalition and the.

  • Tlaib won’t visit West Bank under ‘oppressive’ Israeli conditions | Israel News

    US congresswoman Rashida Tlaib has said.

  • Brother of Afghan Taliban leader killed in Pakistan mosque blast | Afghanistan News

    The brother of Afghan Taliban leader.

  • Malaysia to question Zakir Naik as government weighs deportation | News

    Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia – The Malaysian.

  • Gibraltar Supreme Court says Iranian tanker is free to sail | News

    Gibraltar’s Supreme Court has ruled that.

  • Pehlu Khan lynching: Indian state to appeal acquittal of accused | News

    A provincial government in India has said.

  • Japan’s Abe skips Yasukuni shrine visit but sends offering | News

    Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has.

  • Analysis: Saudi activist rejects release deal | Saudi Arabia News

    Saudi women’s rights activist Loujain al-Hathloul.

  • Blast strikes military base in Iraq’s Baghdad | Iraq News

    At least one person has been.

  • Will China run out of patience with Hong Kong protests? | Hong Kong protests

    Hong Kong’s leader Carrie Lam is.

  • Kyrgyz ex-President Atambayev was plotting coup: Security chief | News

    Former Kyrgyzstan President Almazbek Atambayev, who.

  • Opposition warns Maduro eyeing to dissolve Venezuela parliament | Venezuela News

    Venezuela’s pro-government Constituent Assembly was holding.

  • Hong Kong airport cancels Monday flights amid sit-in protest | News

    Hong Kong airport has suspended all.

  • Israel expels Filipino worker with Israeli-born son: NGO | News

    A Filipino migrant worker and her.

  • Yemeni official: UAE won in Aden, Saudi silent over ‘slaughter’ | Yemen News

    The interior minister of Yemen‘s internationally recognised.

  • Could the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen soon fall apart? | Yemen

    The war in Yemen looks like.