Larijani calls talks with U.S. a ‘strategic mistake’

April 29, 2019

TEHRAN – Iranian Majlis Speaker Ali Larijani said on Monday that talks with the U.S. is a “strategic mistake”.

“U.S. officials should know that they are facing a tough opponent,” Larijani said during a conference on monetary policies.

He noted that Iran sat at the negotiating table for 12 years, however, U.S. President Donald Trump violated the 2015 nuclear agreement and quit it.

Larijani was referring to Iran’s nuclear talks with the West which first started with Europeans in 2003 and then included the U.S. in following years and concluded in 2015. Larijani himself was Iran’s chief nuclear negotiator in the early years of the Ahmadinejad presidency. He sat for talks with Javier Solana who in those years was the European Union’s chief diplomat.

Larijani, a philosopher-turned politician, said the U.S. has adopted a “discourse of humiliation” and this approach has made talks with Washington nonsensical.

“Anything should be done in its appropriate time. Now is not the time to negotiate with the America. This is a strategic mistake if one think that issues will be solved with this dangerous creature,” he stated.

U.S. President Donald Trump unilaterally pulled Washington out of the 2015 nuclear deal in May 2018 and ordered reimposition of sanctions against Iran. The first round of sanctions went into force on August 6 and the second round, which targets Iran’s oil exports and banks, were snapped back on November 4.

On July 31, 2018, Trump offered to meet Iran’s leaders with “no preconditions” and “any time they want”.

"I'd meet with anybody. I believe in meetings," Trump told reporters at the White House.

In remarks on April 29, President Hassan Rouhani likened Trump to a knifeman with whom Iran will not negotiate. “Undoubtedly, accepting the demands of a knifeman who through bullying and lying is seeking negotiation will get nowhere,” Rouhani told a cabinet meeting.

Also, in remarks on August 13, 2018, the Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said there will be no war between Iran and the U.S. and nor will be any negotiation between the two countries.

The Leader noted that as Imam Khomeini “banned talks with the U.S. I also ban it”. He added that negotiation with the current U.S. administration is impossible. “Even if we were to negotiate with America, we would never hold talks with the current American administration.”

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said in September 2018 that the Trump administration constantly sends messages to Iran to begin negotiations.

“From one side, they put pressure against the Iranian people and on the other side they send us messages through various methods that we should come and negotiate together,” he said.

‘Saudis have taken wrong path’

Larijani also said that “Iran has not closed the door of negotiations”, but the Saudis have taken a wrong path.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi on Saturday dismissed claims by foreign media outlets that Iran is seeking talks with the U.S. and Saudi Arabia, calling them “unfounded”.

“There has been no request for talks with the U.S. and there is no negotiation with Saudi Arabia except for the issue of Hajj which is apart from political relations,” Mousavi said.

Iran’s policy towards neighboring countries is based on good neighborliness and mutual respect, he noted. “All the neighbors who consider realities and the international developments are prioritized in productive relations.”

The ministry spokesman added, “From the point of view of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Saudi Arabia is an important country in our region which has taken a wrong path and adopted counter-constructive approach which have led to many problems and crises in the region.”

NA/PA

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