Iran says it will never take part in one-sided talks with US
In response to Trump's recent statement that he is ready to 'make a real deal', Iran's Foreign Ministry Spokesman says that no such deal will be made as long as the talks are unequal and made under threat; meanwhile, Iran files an official letter objecting Pompeo's rhetorical assault on Iran’s leaders.
Following US President Donald Trump's statement on Tuesday, that he is ready to "make a real deal" with Iran, Iran's Foreign Ministry Spokesman, Bahram Qassemi, said that Iran will never take part in one-sided negotiations with the United States under threat.
"America should forget forever the idea of one-sided negotiations under the shadow of a threat," Tasnim news agency quoted Qassemi as saying.
According to the IRNA news agency, Qassemi also said that in response to US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's speech on Sunday in which he compared Iran's leaders to a "mafia", Iran has filed an official letter of objection to the Swiss embassy in Tehran, which oversees US diplomatic relations in the Islamic Republic.
Pompeo, in a California speech to a largely Iranian-American audience, dismissed Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and Foreign Minister Javad Zarif, who negotiated a nuclear deal with the United States and five other countries, as “merely polished front men for the ayatollahs’ international con artistry.”
Iran “is run by something that resembles the mafia more than a government,” Pompeo said, citing what he called Iranian leaders’ vast wealth and corruption.
Pompeo’s speech was the latest step in a communications offensive launched by the Trump administration that is meant to foment unrest in Iran and help pressure its government to end its nuclear program and support of militant groups, US officials familiar with the matter said.
The offensive is meant to work in concert with severe economic sanctions that Washington plans to reimpose in the coming months, including on Tehran’s oil exports, its principal revenue generator.
The United States will work with countries that import Iranian oil “to get imports as close to zero as possible” by November 4, Pompeo said.
Rouhani cautioned Trump on Sunday about pursuing hostile policies against Tehran, saying: “War with Iran is the mother of all wars.” But he did not rule out peace between the two countries, which have been at odds since the 1979 Islamic Revolution.
“You are not in a position to incite the Iranian nation against Iran’s security and interests,” Rouhani said, in an apparent reference to reports of efforts by Washington to destabilize Iran’s Islamic government.
Trump responded to Rouhani in a tweet late on Sunday, warning Rouhani of dire consequences if he threatens the US again.
“NEVER, EVER THREATEN THE UNITED STATES AGAIN OR YOU WILL SUFFER CONSEQUENCES THE LIKES OF WHICH FEW THROUGHOUT HISTORY HAVE EVER SUFFERED BEFORE. WE ARE NO LONGER A COUNTRY THAT WILL STAND FOR YOUR DEMENTED WORDS OF VIOLENCE & DEATH. BE CAUTIOUS!”
Publicly, the Trump administration says its policy with Iran is not “regime change,” but to change Tehran’s behavior so it stops nuclear and missile work, support for proxies in the Middle East and backing of militant groups.
“While it is ultimately up to the Iranian people to determine the direction of their country, the United States ... will support the long-ignored voice of the Iranian people,” Pompeo said.
Pompeo spoke at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California, to a packed house of about 1,000 people. He received frequent applause, although one audience member heckled him over the Trump administration’s immigration policies.
Several dozen protesters lined the route to the site, including one group that distributed fliers opposing both Iran’s current government and any US intervention in Iran.
Pompeo said senior Iranian leaders had benefited from embezzlement, sweetheart deals and other ill-gotten gains.
ran’s ayatollahs, he said, were “hypocritical holy men” who “seem more concerned with riches than religion.”
Pompeo added that the US government broadcasting agency was launching a 24/7 Farsi-language channel on TV, radio, digital and social media platforms. The US government is also taking steps to help Iranians get around internet censorship, he asserted.
Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.