R-e-s-p-e-c-t: Under pressure, Iran’s Rouhani says talks with U.S. could happen

by WorldTribune Staff, June 2, 2019

Iran may at some point be willing to talk with the United States but first must be shown the proper respect, Iran’s president and foreign minister said.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on June 1 said Iran could be a willing participant in discussions with the Trump administration but added Teheran would not be pressured into talks.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif

“We are for logic and talks if [the other side] sits respectfully at the negotiating table and follows international regulations, not if it issues an order to negotiate,” Rouhani said.

And, in an interview with U.S. television network ABC broadcast on June 2, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said that it was “not very likely” that Teheran would agree to talks with Washington any time soon.

Trump “is imposing pressure,” Zarif said, insisting that “threats against Iran never work. Try respect. That may work.”

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on June 2 that the U.S. is willing to talk to Iran with “no preconditions” but will continue to pressure the country.

“We are ready to sit down with them,” Pompeo said, adding that “the American effort to fundamentally reverse the malign activity of this Islamic republic, this revolutionary force, is going to continue.”

Amid reported threats by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), the U.S. has increased its military presence in the Persian Gulf.

Both American and Iranian officials have said that they are not seeking a war.

U.S. President Donald Trump has signaled willingness to negotiate with Iranian leaders, telling reporters on May 30: “If they want to talk, I’m available.”

However, Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei has rejected talks with Washington, saying that negotiating with the current U.S. administration would be “poisonous.”

On May 29, Trump said Washington wasn’t looking for “regime change” in Iran.

“It has a chance to be a great country with the same leadership… We aren’t looking for regime change — I just want to make that clear,” Trump said.

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