Published: Wed, August 01, 2018
World | By Camille Rivera

Iran policy unaffected by Trump’s negotiation offer to Tehran

Iran policy unaffected by Trump’s negotiation offer to Tehran

It is not a good time for Iran to negotiate with the United States, a senior Iranian parliamentarian said yesterday, a day after U.S. President Donald Trump said he would be willing to meet Iran's leader without preconditions.

Some lower-ranking Iranian officials have responded by saying the path to direct discussions with Washington would have to include a USA return to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, as the nuclear deal involving Iran, China, France, Russia, Britain, Germany, the US and the European Union was formally called. "It was a ridiculous deal", Trump said. The US unilaterally withdrew from the agreement, which included other major world powers, including Germany, France, the UK, Russia and China.

President Trump has offered to meet Iran's leaders with no preconditions, at any time they want. In early July, he threatened to disrupt oil shipments through the Strait of Hormuz if new USA sanctions cut off its oil sales, which have already begun to decline as the US pressures allies to reduce purchases.

Sky News US correspondent Mark Austin said: "Donald Trump knows the pressure is on Iran, sanctions on Iran are due to be restored in the coming week and the Iranian currency - the rial - has plummeted to its lowest level ever, sparking fears of civil unrest there, so Donald Trump knows the timing may be right".

Back in May, Pompeo had set 12 conditions for talks with Iran, which were dismissed by Tehran.

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As a result of Trump's decision to withdraw from the agreement, some previously lifted US sanctions will be reimposed on Iran over the next few months.

Also on Tuesday, the USA president said he has "a feeling" the Iranians will "be talking to us pretty soon".

Monday, Trump also said he would not require any preconditions for a meeting. But they also made it clear they won't be able to force their companies to keep doing business with Iran, since it could break the sanction rules and, thus, cut the companies off from the US financial system.

In May, the USA abandoned a deal which curbed Iran's nuclear activities in return for the lifting of sanctions.

The White House clarified that Trump's potential willingness to meet with his Iranian counterpart did not change his administration's intent to ratchet up sanctions and rhetoric against Tehran.

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In a separate letter to Rouhani on Wednesday, 193 lawmakers welcomed these changes "as a good starting point" and asked for "maximum shake-up" in the government.

Using capitalised letters he warned of dire consequences "THE LIKES OF WHICH FEW THROUGHOUT HISTORY HAVE EVER SUFFERED" if Iran threatened America. Deputy Speaker of the Iranian Parliament Ali Motahari echoed Aboutalebi's words, saying it would be "humiliating" for Iran to hold talks with the U.S. right now.

For now, this is also the official line, with supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei saying earlier this month that talking to Trump would be "useless". "The United States has shown that it is totally unreliable".

"Based on our bad experiences in negotiations with America and based on USA officials' violation of their commitments, it is natural that we see no value in his proposal", Kamal Kharrazi was quoted as saying by the semi-official Fars news agency.

"I believe in meeting", Trump said at a White House news conference.

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Hamid Aboutalebi, an adviser to Rouhani, tweeted on Monday, calling for the respect Iran and return to the original nuclear deal. "It would be a humiliation", Motahari said, according to the conservative Fars News.

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