Tehran — Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said Saturday there would be no meeting with the United States in the near future following Washington’s reimposition of sanctions.
Asked by the conservative Tasnim news agency if there was any plan to meet US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Zarif said: „No, there will be no meeting.“
He said there were also no plans for a meeting with US officials on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York next month, which both Iranian President Hassan Rohani and his US counterpart Donald Trump are due to attend.
„On Trump’s recent proposal (of talks), our official stance was announced by the president and by us. Americans are not honest and their addiction to sanctions does not allow any negotiation to take place,“ Zarif told Tasnim.
It was Iran’s most explicit rejection of talks to date, after much speculation that economic pressure would force its leaders back to the table with Washington.
The US reimposed sanctions on Tuesday, following its withdrawal from the 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and major powers in May.
Zarif met repeatedly with then US secretary of state John Kerry during the agreement’s negotiation and implementation.
Rohani said last week that Iran „always welcomed negotiations“ but that Washington would first have to demonstrate it can be trusted.
„If you’re an enemy and you stab the other person with a knife and then you say you want negotiations, then the first thing you have to do is remove the knife.“
Rohani dismissed a US call for talks without preconditions last Monday, hours before Washington moved to impose new sanctions in line with President Donald Trump’s decision to pull out of a 2015 agreement over Iran’s nuclear program.
Meanwhile, Iran’s Revolutionary Guards said on Saturday they had killed ten „militants“ overnight in a security operation conducted in the northwest of the country near the border with Iraq, the official news agency IRNA reported.
„A well-equipped terrorist group … intending to infiltrate the country from the border area of Oshnavieh to foment insecurity and carry out acts of sabotage was ambushed and at least 10 terrorists were killed in a heavy clash,“ the Revolutionary Guards said in a statement carried by IRNA.
There has been sporadic fighting with Iranian Kurdish militant groups based in Iraq as well as Daesh fighters near Iran’s porous border with Iraq.
In July, there were at least two clashes in the mountainous border area, in which at least 10 Guards and three militants were killed. — Agencies