Iran says it will NEVER hold one-on-one talks with the US
Iran says it will NEVER hold one-on-one talks with the US after Washington pointed the finger at Tehran for drone strikes on Saudi oil facilities as Supreme Leader Khamenei tells Trump ‘maximum pressure’ policy over nuclear sanctions will fail
- Khamenei said: ‘Iranian officials, at any level, will never talk to American officials’
- He said today he could face multilateral talks if sanctions were relieved
- US pointed the finger at Tehran for drone strikes in Saudi Arabia on Saturday
- President Hassan Rouhani has blamed Houthi rebels for the devastation
Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said today Tehran he will never hold one-on-one talks with Washington after drone strikes on Saudi Arabian oil facilities.
President Donald Trump has said he could meet his Iranian counterpart Hassan Rouhani, possibly at the U.N. General Assembly in New York later this month.
But Trump’s declaration on Monday that it ‘looks’ like Iran carried out unprecedented and devastating attacks on Saudi oil sites dashed those hopes and prompted a furious denial from Rouhani.
Khamenei told state TV on Tuesday: ‘Iranian officials, at any level, will never talk to American officials … policy of maximum pressure will fail.’
Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said: ‘Iranian officials, at any level, will never talk to American officials … their policy of maximum pressure will fail’
He continued: ‘If America changes its behaviour and returns to (Iran’s 2015) nuclear deal, then it can join multilateral talks between Iran and other parties to the deal.’
Khamenei affirmed this is the position of the entire leadership of the country, saying ‘all officials in the Islamic Republic unanimously believe’ this.
Trump has stepped up sanctions against Iran since last year when he withdrew from the nuclear pact between Iran and six world powers.
‘If we yield to their pressure and hold talks with Americans … This will show that their maximum pressure on Iran has succeeded. They should know that this policy has no value for us,’ said Khamenei, who has the last say on all state matters.
The weekend’s attack – which set ablaze a crucial Saudi oil processing plant and a key oil field – was claimed by Iranian-allied Houthi rebels, who are at war with a Saudi-led coalition that is trying to restore Yemen’s internationally recognised government to power.
Trump said it ‘looks’ like Iran was behind the attacks but stressed that military retaliation was not yet on the table in response to the strike against a key U.S. Mideast ally.
A satellite image showing damage to Aramco’s oil infrastructure at Khurais, in Saudi Arabia on Sunday
Oil prices soared worldwide amid the damage in Saudi Arabia and fresh Middle East war concerns.
But Trump put the brakes on any talk of quick military action – earlier he had said the U.S. was ‘locked and loaded’ – and he said the oil impact would not be significant on the U.S., which is a net energy exporter.
The Saudi government called the attack an ‘unprecedented act of aggression and sabotage’ but stopped short of directly pinning blame on Iran.
Saudi Colonel Turki al-Malki said initial investigations show the strikes were not launched from Yemen, as the Iran-backed Houthi rebels there have claimed, and were carried out using weapons manufactured by Tehran.
While Trump’s tweet raised fears of open conflict, it is not clear what – if any – action the President is planning to take.
President Donald Trumps said Monday it ‘looks’ like Iran was behind the attacks after tweeting that the US was ‘locked and loaded’
After an American drone was shot down by Iran this summer Trump ordered air strikes against Iranian targets, but called them off at the last minute, saying the risk of death was unacceptably high.
One U.S. official, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss internal deliberations, said the U.S. was considering dispatching additional military resources to the Gulf but that no decisions had been made.
The U.S. already has the USS Abraham Lincoln aircraft carrier battle group in the area, as well as fighter jets, bombers, reconnaissance aircraft and air defences.
Saudi Arabia’s Colonel Turki al-Malki said drone strikes against two of his country’s oil facilities at the weekend did not come from Yemen as the Houthi rebels there have claimed
Trump, alternating between aggressive and nonviolent reactions, said the U.S. could respond ‘with an attack many, many times larger’ but also ‘I’m not looking at options right now.’
American officials released satellite images of the damage at the heart of the kingdom’s Abqaiq processing plant and a key oil field, and two U.S. officials said the attackers used multiple cruise missiles and drone aircraft.
Private experts said the satellite images show the attackers had detailed knowledge of which tanks and machinery to hit within the sprawling Saudi oil processing facility at Abqaiq to cripple production. But ‘satellite imagery can’t show you where the attack originated from,’ said Joe Bermudez, an expert at the Center for Strategic and International Studies who examined the images.
The U.S. alleges the pattern of destruction suggested Saturday’s attack did not come from neighboring Yemen, as claimed by Iranian-backed Houthi rebels there.
A Saudi military alleged ‘Iranian weapons’ had been used.
The Saudis invited the U.N. and other international experts to help investigate, suggesting there was no rush to retaliate.
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