Prepared to talk to Iran ‘with no preconditions’: United States

Vastavam web: US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Sunday his country was ready to talk with Tehran “with no preconditions”, but there was no indication if lifting sanctions over Iran’s nuclear programme was on the table. The top US diplomat, who is considered a hawk on the Iran file, appeared to soften the US stance somewhat following weeks of escalating tensions with Tehran.

“We are ready to sit down with them,” Pompeo told a joint news conference with his Swiss counterpart Ignazio Cassis at the impressive medieval Castelgrande castle in Bellinzona, nestled in the Alps in Switzerland’s Italian-speaking Ticino region. He was reacting to comments made by Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on Saturday insisting that his country would not be “bullied” into talks with the United States, and that any dialogue between the two countries needed to be grounded in “respect”.

Pompeo himself also appeared to back-pedal on the offer to have condition-free talks with Iran, stating that Washington was “certainly prepared to have (a) conversation when the Iranians will prove they are behaving as a normal nation.” ‘Malign activity’ Nonetheless, Pompeo’s comments mark the first time the Trump administration has offered no-strings-attached talks since the recent escalation began in the wake of the US withdrawal from a hard-won 2015 nuclear deal between Tehran and world powers. But Pompeo stressed that “the American effort to fundamentally reverse the malign activity of this Islamic Republic, this revolutionary force, is going to continue.”

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 programme and what Washington calls its “malign influence” across the region.