US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced that the administration of President Donald Trump is ready for dialogue with Tehran “without preconditions”.
This came during a press conference during his visit to Switzerland.
Pompeo said: “The United States is ready to engage in any dialogue with Tehran without any preconditions, and it is ready for dialogue with Iranian officials”.
On the other hand, Iran on Sunday demanded that the United States “change its behavior” in a significant way to agree to negotiate with it after US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo expressed his country’s readiness to engage Tehran “without preconditions”.
“The overall change in US behavior and actions vis-a-vis the Iranian nation is the standard” that will be taken into account before any possible negotiations, said Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Al Moussawi.
“The Islamic Republic of Iran does not take account of the words and use new rhetoric to express secret goals”, he said.
As for Pompeo’s statements, “Pompeo’s focus on continuing to exert the greatest amount of pressure on Iran shows the continuation of the same sinful behavior that should be corrected,” the spokesman said.
It seems that US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, known for his tough line on Iran, seeks to soften Washington’s position after weeks of mounting tension.
The United States on Sunday issued a new invitation to the Islamic Republic of Iran to start a dialogue “without preconditions”, but without giving up its sanctions against Tehran.
Pompeo responded to comments by Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, who said on Saturday that any negotiations with Washington can only take place within the framework of “respect” and not a response to “dictate” the US.
“US efforts to end the malicious activities of this Islamic republic, this revolutionary force, will continue”, Pompeo said, meaning that the United States does not intend to ease its sanctions against Iran and its nuclear program.
“We’re certainly ready to hold talks when the Iranians prove they are acting as a normal nation”, he said.
However, it is the first time that the administration of President Donald Trump, who has withdrawn from the international nuclear agreement with Iran and stepped up diplomatic and military pressure, has made it clear that it is willing to start a dialogue without preconditions with the Islamic Republic.
Last year, Pompeo set a precondition for a “new agreement” between Washington and Tehran, which was mainly related to restrictions on Iran’s nuclear program and curbing Iran’s activities in the Middle East, which Washington and its allies see as “destabilizing”.
According to US diplomacy, none of these conditions have been met so far.
Since then, the United States has stepped up its pressure, which has reached the limit of deploying a warship, aircraft carrier and B-52 bombers in the region after speaking a month ago of threats of “imminent” attacks by Iranian or allied forces on US interests in the Gulf region.
But in recent days, Trump seemed to want to ease the tension, stressing repeatedly his willingness to talk to Iranian leaders who have rejected the offer of dialogue.
“What we want is the absence of nuclear weapons and I absolutely do not want to offend Iran”, Trump said.
Switzerland has expressed its willingness to play the role of “mediator” between the two countries.
“We cannot be mediators if there is no desire on both sides”, he said.
The Swiss minister expressed his concern about the current tension and the “great suffering” caused by the US sanctions against the Iranian people.
He called on Washington to define a financial “channel” so that Iranians could buy their needs without being subjected to US punitive measures.
Pompeo didn’t respond to his Swiss counterpart’s request.
Indeed, after expressing willingness for dialogue without preconditions, his rhetoric against Tehran has returned and what may point to the path to dialogue remains difficult.
“The real challenges for Iran are not the result of US sanctions, but rather the 40 years of rule of an Islamic regime that does not care about its people but rather the use of resources to destroy lives”, he said.
The two ministers preferred to remain silent on the efforts made by Switzerland in particular to release American detainees in Iran.
“This file is a priority for Donald Trump and every help from any country is welcome”, Pompeo said.