Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has forbidden all Iranian officials from negotiating with President Trump, Iranian State TV reported Tuesday.
“There will be no talks with the U.S. at any level,” Khamenei was quoted as saying.
The comments came amid speculation regarding a possible meeting between Trump and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly meeting later this month. It would be the first meeting between a U.S. and Iranian president since the 1970’s. Advisors close to Trump indicated that the idea appeals to him, according to a report from the Washington Post.
Khamenei said that the U.S. was trying to demonstrate that its current policy of applying maximum pressure on Iran, via economic sanctions, would work to bring the country to the negotiating table. “In return, we have to prove that the policy is not worth a penny for the Iranian nation,” he continued.
“That’s why all Iranian officials, from the president and the foreign minister to all others have announced that we do not negotiate (with the U.S.) either bilaterally or multilaterally.”
The Iranian position is that the U.S. must reenter the JCPOA nuclear deal in order for negotiations to take place.
Khamenei’s comments came just days after an attack on Saudi Arabian oil infrastructure, which was claimed by Yemeni Houthi rebels but which Trump has indicated was carried out by Iran.
Trump initially said the U.S. military was “locked and loaded” and that it could respond “with an attack many, many times larger,” but later clarified, “I’m not looking at options right now.”