May 28 (UPI) — Iranian officials rejected President Donald Trump’s suggestion that the two nations talk, saying that the United States must change its rhetoric and behavior toward the Islamic republic.
In a news conference Monday with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Trump suggested that he would welcome Abe opening the door between conversations between the United States and Iran. Tensions have heightened between the two countries since the United States walked away from the Obama-era multi-country deal meant to limit Iran’s capacity to make nuclear weapons.
“Well, I know that the prime minister and Japan have a very good relationship with Iran, so we’ll see what happens,” Trump said. “The prime minister has already spoken to me about that. And I do believe that Iran would like to talk. And if they’d like to talk, we’d like to talk also.
“… That would be fine. Nobody wants to see terrible things happen, especially me,” Trump added.
Seyyed Abbas Mousavi, Iran’s foreign ministry spokesman, dismissed Trump’s comments Tuesday.
“[Tehran] pays no attention to mere words and rhetoric,” Mousavi said, according to state-owned PressTV. “What matters to us is that this shift in tone will be complemented with a change in [U.S.] behavior and approach.”
Iranian foreign minister Javad Zarif echoed those sentiments Tuesday, insisting that Iran is not interested in building nuclear weapons.
“Ayatollah @khamenei jr long ago said we’re not seeking nuclear weapons — by issuing a fatwa (edict) banning them,” Zariff tweeted. “… #EconomicTerrorism is hurting the Iranian people & causing tension in the region. Actions — not words — will show whether or not that’s @realDonaldTrump’s intent.”
The United States on Friday ordered 1,500 additional troops to the Middle East and earlier deployed a carrier strike group and B-52 bombers to the region. Trump said Monday he was not seeking regime change.
“We’re not looking for regime change. I want to make that clear,” Trump said. “We’re looking for no nuclear weapons.”