Iran gave its most explicit rejection yet of talks with the U.S. on Saturday, and accused Washington of an “addiction to sanctions” over its latest spat with Turkey.
The U.S. reimposed harsh sanctions on Iran on Tuesday, following its May withdrawal from a landmark 2015 nuclear agreement, dealing a heavy blow to the already troubled economy.
U.S. President Donald Trump has offered talks on a “more comprehensive deal”, but Iran has baulked at negotiating under the pressure of sanctions and has instead leant on its increasingly close ties with fellow U.S. sanctions targets Turkey and Russia.
Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif was asked by the conservative Tasnim news agency whether there was any plan to meet with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
“No, there will be no meeting,” was the blunt response from Mr. Zarif.
He said there were also no plans for a meeting with U.S. officials on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York next month, which both Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and Mr. Trump are due to attend.
“On Trump’s recent proposal (of talks), our official stance was announced by the President and by us. Americans are not honest and their addiction to sanctions does not allow any negotiation to take place,” Mr. Zarif said.
It was Iran’s most explicit rejection of talks to date, after much speculation that economic pressure would force its leaders back to the table with Washington or at least to engage in backroom discussions in New York.
Earlier on Saturday, Mr. Zarif waded into the mounting row between Turkey and the U.S.
“Trump’s jubilation in inflicting economic hardship on its NATO ally Turkey is shameful,” he wrote on Twitter.
“We’ve stood with neighbours before, and will again now”.
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