Pompeo Says US Prepared to Talk to Iran 'with No Preconditions'

Saul Bowman
June 4, 2019

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 U.S. withdrawal from a hard-won 2015 nuclear deal between Tehran and world powers.

Pompeo said U.S. President Donald Trump had been saying for a long time that he was willing to talk to Iran.

Tehran on Sunday ruled out talks with Washington unless it changes its "general behavior", after US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said his country was ready for negotiations with Iran.

However, Cassis cautioned that Switzerland's hands are tied if there is no willingness on either side to agree to talks.

Despite the U.S. withdrawal, Iran has remained a party to the nuclear deal that involves the five permanent members of the UN Security Council, Germany and the European Union.

Pompeo's brief stop in The Hague on Monday is the third leg of a four-nation tour of Europe in which he is both trying to calm nerves over rising U.S. -Iran tensions and stressing that America will defend itself and not relent in raising pressure on the Islamic Republic with economic sanctions.

Iran and the United States have been drawn into starker confrontation in the past month, a year after Washington pulled out of a deal between Iran and global powers to curb Tehran's nuclear program in return for lifting worldwide sanctions.

The US secretary of state said he was optimistic about the bilateral free trade agreement and praised the potential business opportunities in Switzerland notably for the US defence industry.

Last month, the administration ended sanctions waivers that had allowed certain countries to continue to import Iranian oil, the country's main source of revenue.

Rouhani had suggested on Saturday that Iran might be willing to hold talks if Washington showed it respect, but said Tehran would not be pressured into talks.

"The Islamic Republic of Iran ignores word games and the use of new language to express secret aims", said Mousavi.

Pompeo declined to comment on whether he had made a specific request to the Swiss about the detainees.

US President Donald Trump, he said, "is imposing pressure".

Some analysts believe Iran is acting to restore leverage it has lost since Mr Trump withdrew from the 2015 nuclear deal and the USA reimposed sanctions that have hobbled Iran's economy.

Zarif added, "Talking is the continuation of the process of pressure. this may work in a real estate market". In recent weeks it has also hinted at military confrontation, saying it was sending extra forces to the Middle East to respond to an Iranian threat.

"The world should be mindful of how we are watching closely how Iran is complying with the requirements that were set out", he said.

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