Grand ayatollah calls offer of negotiations with U.S. ‘unwise’

June 18, 2019

TEHRAN – A top religious figure has rejected the idea of talks between Iran and the United States, saying holding new rounds of negotiations with the U.S., which is not committed to its obligations, is not a “wise” move.

During a meeting with Science Minister Mansour Gholami on Tuesday, Grand Ayatollah Nasser Makarem Shirazi said the Americans think their economic pressures would bring the Iranian nation to their knees “and force us to return to the negotiating table, which is only an illusion,” Tasnim reported.

He further said problems created by the U.S. sanctions can be resolved through the resistance of the Iranian people and officials.

The Trump administration, which abandoned the 2015 nuclear agreement with Iran last year, has reimposed sanctions that the agreement had rescinded, putting enormous new pressure on Iran’s economy. The administration also has moved to strengthen the American military presence in the Persian Gulf in response to what it has called increased Iranian threats.

Since withdrawal from the deal, the Trump administration has occasionally shown its willingness to hold talks with Tehran, but the idea was firmly rejected by Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Ali Khamenei last week.

In a meeting with visiting Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Ayatollah Khamenei dismissed U.S. President Donald Trump as a person not worthy of a response or a message, stressing that negotiations with Washington cannot help solve any problem.

Abe told the Leader he was carrying a message from the U.S. president.

“We have no doubts about your (Japan’s) goodwill and seriousness, but regarding what you quoted from the U.S. president, I personally do not consider Trump worthy of exchanging any messages with, and do not have and will not have any response for him,” the Leader told Abe.

Following the remarks, Trump tweeted that it was “too soon” to hold any negotiations between the two sides.

“While I very much appreciate P.M. Abe going to Iran to meet with Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, I personally feel that it is too soon to even think about making a deal. They are not ready, and neither are we,” Trump said.

MH/PA

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