The possibility of talks between the U.S. and Iran is possible but would be pointless for Tehran without a clear agenda, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Zarif said on Wednesday.
“We don’t want to turn talks into a taboo, but they would have to provide results and not be a waste
of time,” Zarif said in an interview with the Iran newspaper.
Zarif said Iran never turned down political negotiations – not even with the U.S. – but always conducted these with a clear agenda in advance and clear results in sight.
“We should explore everything precisely and make a rational decision on the basis of our national interests,” Zarif said.
The U.S. reimposed sanctions on Iran on Tuesday as the administration of President Donald Trump sought to increase pressure on Tehran after unilaterally pulling out of a nuclear deal reached with the international community in 2015.
Trump said on Friday that he was willing to meet Iran’s leadership, including President Hassan Rowhani, at any time and without preconditions.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, however, attempted to relativize the president’s remarks shortly afterwards, laying out conditions for talks including “agree(ing) that it’s worthwhile to enter into a nuclear agreement that actually prevents proliferation.”
Zarif said this was evidence of “the chaos in American foreign policy.”
“We should explore everything precisely and make a rational decision on the basis of our national interests,” the minister added.
In its initial reaction to Trump’s offer, Iran said that before talks the U.S. would have to stop new
sanctions against Tehran and reverse its withdrawal from the nuclear deal, which lifted sanctions in
return for limits to Iran’s nuclear capabilities.