Negotiations? We’ve been there

July 31, 2018

TEHRAN – U.S. President Donald Trump on Monday said he was ready to sit for talks with his Iranian counterpart Hassan Rouhani.

“It’s good for the country, good for them, good for us and good for the world. No preconditions. If they want to meet, I’ll meet,” Trump said in a joint press conference with Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte.

The statement drew many remarks from Iranian as well as international politicians. One of the earliest responses was issued by an aide to President Rouhani, who said on Tuesday that the U.S. would have to return to the internationally-backed nuclear deal and stop new sanctions against Iran if it wants negotiations with Tehran.

Wendy Sherman urges Trump to “rejoin the community of nations in support of the JCPOA”.

‘Situations not right for negotiations’

The Majlis deputy speaker said the situation is not right for negotiations “because it will be accompanied by disgrace and humiliation.”

“If Trump hadn’t quit the JCPOA and not reimposed sanctions, I think it would have been OK to enter talks with America,” Ali Motahari said on Tuesday.

‘Trump must return to the nuclear deal’

Hamid Aboutalebi, writing in a tweet, said, “Respecting the Iranian nation's rights, reducing hostilities and returning to the nuclear deal are steps that can be taken to pave the bumpy road of talks between Iran and America.”

The head of Iran’s Strategic Council on Foreign Relations also said that Trump must recompense Iran for his withdrawal from the nuclear deal by demonstrating commitment to international law and commitments made by his predecessors.

‘Trump not paying attention to his inconsistent remarks’

“It seems that Trump is in love with setting up meetings just to meet, with not much paying attention to the outcomes and his inconsistent remarks,” Kamal Kharrazi noted, Mehr reported. 

“It seems natural that we turn down his offer with regard to bitter experiences we learned from pervious negotiations with America and its repetitive breaches of obligations,” added Karrazi who was Iran’s foreign minister from 1997 to 2005 under the Khatami administration. 

‘Trump must distance himself from hawks such Bolton and Pompeo’

Hamid Reza Asefi, a former Iranian diplomat, also said that Trump should bring Washington’s hawks, including Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and National Security Advisor John Bolton, into coordination with his own stances before any possible talks with Iran.

“Bolton and Pompeo are seeking adventurism, while Trump is talking about negotiation with Iran. We are witnessing a confusion inside the White House and our best advice for Trump is to distance himself from hawkish people around him if he is seeking to hold talk with Iran, because people like Pompeo and Bolton are the first impediment to this issue,” he told ISNA.

Pompeo appeared on CNBC hours after Trump’s statements on Monday to set some conditions.

“We’ve said this before,” said Pompeo, the former CIA chief. “If the Iranians demonstrate a commitment to make fundamental changes in how they treat their own people, reduce their malign behavior, can agree that it’s worthwhile to enter into a nuclear agreement that actually prevents proliferation, then the president said he’s prepared to sit down and have the conversation with them.”

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

Sherman to Trump: ‘Iran just might have a precondition’ 

Trump’s statements drew responses from the U.S. as well. Former deputy secretary of state Wendy Sherman tweeted “Mr. President, Iran just might have a precondition- rejoin the community of nations in support of the JCPOA….”

Former IAEA chief Mohammed ElBaradei also told Trump, “You cannot renege on a deal considered by all as a keystone, threaten the country, humiliate its leaders and then impulsively call for talks!”

“Agreements are based on trust, mutual accommodation & respect, not intimidation & threats. DPRK approach is not a model #Iran,” ElBaradei tweeted.

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