- Relations between the two countries deteriorated dramatically after Trump withdrew last year from the nuclear deal with Iran and re-imposed sanctions on Tehran
- Trump said at the US cabinet meeting that Washington wants to help Tehran, which was interpreted as an attempt to calm.
- Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu criticized Europe's response, saying the EU would not realize the extent of the Iranian threat
The Iranian mission to the United Nations, Ali Reza Mir Yusuf, said Tehran’s ballistic missile program is not negotiable. His remarks came after US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo spoke of the Iranians’ readiness to discuss their missile program.
US President Donald Trump also said progress has been made in an effort to reduce tensions with Iran. Relations between the two countries deteriorated dramatically after Trump withdrew last year from the nuclear deal with Iran and re-imposed sanctions on Tehran. In response, Iran began to breach some of the terms of the agreement.
At a White House meeting, Pompeo said Iran had indicated it was ready to negotiate its ballistic missile program. “We will see what happens, but major development has taken place,” Trump said. Iran quickly denied Pompeo’s comments, saying in a tweet on Twitter: “Iran’s missiles…are not for negotiation under any circumstances, with any individual or any country.”
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif told NBC television that as soon as the Trump administration lifted the sanctions it had imposed on his country, “it will be open to negotiation.” When asked whether it included discussing Iran’s missile program, Zarif said that if the United States wanted to discuss the missile program, “it must stop selling all these weapons to our region.”
Trump said at the US cabinet meeting that Washington wants to help Tehran, which was interpreted as an attempt to calm. “We will work with them and help them in any way possible, but they can not get a nuclear weapon, and we are not trying to change the regime, they can not test ballistic missiles,” he said.
Trump withdrew from the nuclear deal with Iran in May 2018. He said Tehran didn’t do enough to curb its nuclear program. He said he would like to replace it with a new agreement that would also limit the country’s missile program agreement. Iran has refused to negotiate any changes to the deal and has threatened further breaches of the terms of the agreement if Europe does not make additional efforts to limit the impact of US sanctions.
EU foreign ministers called on Iran on Monday to “return to full compliance” with the terms of the nuclear deal, saying the recent violations were not serious and “irreversible.” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu criticized Europe’s response, saying the EU would not realize the extent of the Iranian threat “until an Iranian nuclear missile falls on European soil.”
The US decision has reinforced the position of Iran, who says Washington should never have been trusted. The loss of confidence in the United States (and in Britain) is deep-rooted in Iran, after the two countries staged a coup that overthrew a democratically elected Iranian prime minister in 1953.
“We Iranians have a long history and we always have difficulties,” says Hadi, who runs a small coffee shop that offers drinks to lovers of hiking. He says that the Americans believe that the sanctions will lead to a riot and that the Iranian government will have no choice but to waive. But sanctions, he says, have led to the opposite, as conservatives and liberals have united across the country.