Abe: Meeting with Iran’s Leader ‘a significant step forward’ for securing region’s peace
Iran's Leader Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei told visiting Japanese Prime Minister Abe Shinzo on Thursday the Islamic Republic “has no trust” in the United States and "will in no way repeat" negotiations with America.
Iran "has no trust in America and will not in no way repeat the bitter experience of the previous negotiations with America," Ayatollah Khamenei said in a meeting with Abe in Tehran on Thursday, in a reference to the talks that resulted in a nuclear deal in 2015.
Ayatollah Khamenei added that “no free and wise nation does not accept talks under pressure.”
“Iran engaged in talks with the US and the Europeans for some five or six years, and achieved a result. The Americans, however, breached a done deal,” said the Leader, emphasizing that no wise man would enter talks with a country that has reneged on all agreements.
The Leader said he does not consider US President Donald Trump "worthy" of exchanging messages with.
"We have no doubt in your goodwill and seriousness but regarding what you said the US president told you, I don't consider Trump as a person worthy of exchanging messages with," Ayatollah Khamenei told Abe.
“I have no response for him and will give no response," he added.
The Leader dismissed Washington’s claim of readiness for “honest negotiations” with Tehran, saying “honesty is highly scarce among American statesmen.”
Ayatollah Khamenei pointed to Trump’s talks with Abe on Iran in Tokyo ahead of the Japanese premier’s trip to Tehran, saying, “Right after returning home, he (the US president) announced sanctions on Iran’s petrochemical industry.
“Is that a message of honesty? Does that show that he (Trump) seeks honest talks?
“With the blessing of God, Iran will achieve progress without negotiations with the US and under all the sanctions. Problems will not be solved through negotiations with the United States.”
Ayatollah Khamenei’s comments, reiteration of Iran’s stance, come at a time of increased US-Iranian tensions, more than a year after Washington abandoned an agreement between Iran and world powers to curb its nuclear program in exchange for the lifting of international financial sanctions.
Washington has since May last year reimposed crippling unilateral sanctions – which have forced Tokyo to halt its once-substantial purchases of Iranian oil – and has launched a military buildup in the Persian Gulf that has sent tensions soaring.
Ayatollah Khamenei further rejected as “a lie” Trump’s claim that he was not after regime change in Iran, saying if the US president were able to bring about such a change, he would definitely go for it.
The Leader also reaffirmed the Islamic Republic’s firm opposition to the development and use of nuclear weapons.
“I have issued a fatwa (religious decree) prohibiting the production of nuclear weapons, but you need to know that if we were after building nuclear arms, the United States could not do anything about it,” he said.
The Leader emphasized that Washington is in no position to decide which country can be in possession of nuclear arms while it is, itself, stockpiling several thousands of nuclear warheads.
Ayatollah Khamenei welcomed Abe’s proposal for enhancing Tokyo-Tehran relations and said, “Japan is an important country in Asia and it should display a firm resolve for enhanced ties with Iran.”
Following the meeting, Abe told reporters in Tehran that Ayatollah Khamenei had “made a comment that the country will not and should not make, hold or use nuclear weapons, and that it has no such intentions.”
Abe said he believed his meeting with Ayatollah Khamenei was "a significant step forward" for "securing peace and stability of this region."
"President Trump has said he does not wish to see escalation of tensions," Abe said.
I shared candidly with Ayatollah Khamenei my own views about what intention the president has in mind", Abe added, emphasizing he had "exchanged views with President Trump several times."
Trump said that he appreciated Abe’s visit to Iran, but that he believed it is “too soon to even think about” the United States making a deal with Tehran.
“They are not ready, and neither are we!” Trump said in a tweet.
On a visit to Japan last month, Trump welcomed Abe’s help in easing tensions between the US and Iran.
Last month Washington revoked sanctions waivers that had allowed some countries, including Japan, to buy Iranian crude. In its latest move, the US Treasury prohibited companies earlier this month from doing business with Iran’s largest petrochemical group, citing ties to Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps.
AFP, Press TV, AP and Reuters contributed to this story.