Iran reiterates ‘not seeking nuclear weapons’
Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif appeared unimpressed with the US president’s offer for talks, saying Donald Trump should make his intentions clear about any negotiations with Iran through actions, not words.
“Actions – not words – will show whether or not that's Donald Trump's intent,” Zarif said in a late tweet on Monday.
Trump said earlier in the day in Japan that he'd back Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's efforts to open a communication with Iran.
"I do believe Iran would like to talk and if they'd like to talk, we'll talk also," he said.
Trump said on Monday a deal with Iran on its nuclear program is possible.
"I really believe that Iran would like to make a deal, and I think that's very smart of them, and I think that's a possibility to happen," he said during a news conference with Abe in Tokyo.
Iran has repeatedly said it has no interest in negotiations with Washington following Trump's pullout from the 2015 nuclear deal between Tehran and world powers and the reimposition of sanctions on Iran.
Shift in tone insufficient
Foreign Ministry spokesman Seyyed Abbas Mousavi echoed a similar stance on Tuesday, saying that Iran “pays no attention to mere words and rhetoric. What matters to us is that this shift in tone will be complemented with a change in [US] behavior and approach.”
“We will base our decisions on our own observations as well as the impacts [of US moves] on our country and the region,” he added.
However, Mousavi noted that Iran would "wait and see" before deciding on any offers of negotiations.
Japanese media have reported that Abe is considering a visit to Iran next month. The Kyodo News agency, citing unidentified government sources, said Friday that Abe's visit would be likely in mid-June. Earlier this month, Zarif visited Tokyo.
Fatwa on nukes
Trump also said Monday that Iran "has a chance to be a great country, with the same leadership. We're not looking for regime change, I want to make that clear. We're looking for no nuclear weapons."
Zarif responded to Trump on Twitter, saying that Iran is not seeking nukes, which its Leader Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei had banned in an edict.
Ayatollah Khamenei "long ago said we're not seeking nuclear weapons – by issuing a fatwa (edict) banning them," Zarif said in the same tweet.
Iran’s Leader issued a religious decree against nuclear arms in 2003 and has reiterated it several times since.
Zarif also said that US policies are hurting the Iranian people and causing regional tensions.
“B-Team’s Economic Terrorism is hurting the Iranian people and causing tension in the region.”
The United States has beefed up its military presence in the Middle East in response to alleged threats from the Islamic Republic.
On Saturday, Zarif called a deployment of extra US troops to the region "very dangerous and a threat to international peace and security."
The deployment followed a US decision earlier this month to send an aircraft carrier strike force and B-52 bombers against what Washington's leaders said they believed was an imminent Iranian plan to attack US assets. Iran has dismissed US allegations and threats as “psychological warfare”.
The crisis takes root in Trump's withdrawal last year of the US from the 2015 nuclear deal between Tehran and world powers that capped Iran's uranium enrichment activities in return to lifting sanctions. Washington subsequently reimposed sanctions on Iran.
No fear of war
Iran's Islamic Revolution Guards Corps said Tuesday it doesn't fear a possible war with the US and added that America hasn't grown in power in recent years.
"The enemy is not more powerful than before," IRGC spokesman General Ramazan Sharif said at a press conference in Tehran.
Sharif said the IRGC doesn't "support engaging in any war" while at the same time it doesn't "fear the occurrence of a war."
"We have enough readiness to defend the country," he said, adding that Iran has boosted its military power over the past 30 years.
AP, AFP, Reuters and Press TV contributed to this story.