News ID: 258793
Published: 0228 GMT September 16, 2019
Trump contradicting himself, colleagues

Spokesman: Iran to release UK-flagged tanker ‘in days'

Spokesman: Iran to release UK-flagged tanker ‘in days'

Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesman said on Monday that the country will release a UK-flagged oil tanker it detained for violating international maritime rules nearly two months ago.

The UK-flagged oil tanker Stena Impero will be released “in days,” said Abbas Mousavi.

The judicial process for the release of the vessel is almost finalized and once bureaucratic procedures have been cleared the ship can leave Iran, he said.

“This release is not being made because of any third party’s mediation,” he highlighted, Mehr News Agency reported.

Iran held the British-flagged ship in the Strait of Hormuz on July 19 for violating "international maritime rules."

In early September, Iran announced the release of the ship’s seven crew members on “humanitarian grounds”.

The spokesman described reports suggesting that Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and his US counterpart, Donald Trump, would meet at the UN's headquarters later this month as mere "speculation".

Mousavi made it clear that Rouhani had no plans to meet with Trump during his upcoming trip to New York to attend this year's United Nations General Assembly.

"Neither is this meeting on our agenda nor do I think it will happen in New York," he said. "As pointed out by Mr. Rouhani, we do not meet just for the photo op and any meeting should have a certain agenda and results that are palpable," Press TV reported.

He also repeated Iran's previous stance that if Washington wants to return to the negotiating table, it should first return to the nuclear deal and then end its "economic terrorism" against Iran.

Even then, all talks with Tehran would happen through the Joint Commission of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), Mousavi said.

Government spokesman Ali Rabiei echoed the stance, saying in a separate press briefing that Iran is not willing to talk to a "dishonest" interlocutor under sanctions.

"If the current situation continues, there is no chance the two presidents could meet," he told reporters Monday. "From Iran's perspective, ending all sanctions that the US has imposed on Iran after leaving the JCPOA is a key condition to establish constructive diplomacy."


Trump contradicting himself, colleagues


But Trump appeared on Sunday to play down the chances he might be willing to meet with Iranian officials, saying reports he would do so without conditions were not accurate.

The US president appeared to be disputing the comments of senior aides, including Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, saying he would be willing to meet with Rouhani without precondition, AP reported.

Trump tweeted on Sunday that “The Fake News is saying that I am willing to meet with Iran, ‘No Conditions.’ That is an incorrect statement.”

But Mnuchin said Thursday that Trump had made clear “he would sit down with Rouhani with no condition.” And Pompeo told reporters days earlier that “the president has made clear he is happy to take a meeting with no preconditions.”

Iran has said it is unwilling to meet with Trump while crushing sanctions are in place over its nuclear program.



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