Washington is willing to speak with Iran “with no preconditions”, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Sunday, but stressed his country would continue working to rein in Iran’s “malign activity”.
“We are prepared to engage in a conversation with no preconditions. We are ready to sit down with them,” Pompeo told a news conference in Switzerland.
But he stressed that “the American effort to fundamentally reverse the malign activity of this Islamic Republic, this revolutionary force, is going to continue.”
His comments marked the first time that President Donald Trump’s administration, which last year decided to withdraw from a hard-won 2015 nuclear deal between Tehran and world powers, has so clearly stated its willingness to open a no-strings-attached dialogue with Iran.
Pompeo himself last year laid out 12 draconian demands he said Iran would need to meet before reaching a “new deal” with the United States, essentially addressing every aspect of Iran’s missile program and what Washington calls its “malign influence” across the region.
Washington has since been locked in an increasingly tense standoff with Tehran, and has re-imposed harsh sanctions. In recent weeks it has also beefed up its military presence in the Middle East because of alleged Iranian “threats”.
The Leader of the Islamic Revolution in Iran Imam Sayyed Ali Khamenei’s has earlier, ruled out the possibility of talks between Tehran and Washington, saying such negotiations will be “fruitless”, “harmful”, and “a total loss”.
“The Islamic Republic of Iran will absolutely not sit for talks with America … because first, it bears no fruit and second, it is harmful,” the Leader said last week.