(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE TIMES OF ISRAEL)
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 he had 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 Rouhani 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.
Rouhani 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.”
Zarif’s words came hours after Iranians claimed that the state broadcaster had muted stadium noise during the previous evening’s soccer match in Tehran, in an apparent attempt to drown out anti-government chants.
Iran has seen nationwide strikes and protests in recent weeks, focused on high prices and unemployment but also featuring radical political slogans.
The authorities have acknowledged anger over the economic situation — which has been exacerbated by the United States’ reimposition of sanctions.
On Friday US officials were quoted as saying Iran carried out a ballistic missile test last week for the first time in 2018.
The test of the Iranian Fateh-110 short-range ballistic missile was carried out at the Strait of Hormuz during a naval exercise in which at least 50 small ships took part, Fox News reported. According to the report, the missiles flew “shore to shore” for more than 160 kilometers (100 miles) over the Strait of Hormuz to a site in the desert.
The missile launch test is the first known test of the Fateh-110 in over a year. Last time such a missile was launched by Iran was in March, 2017.