Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif stated on Monday that his country is open to dialogue with the United States without preconditions, adding that such talks remain elusive so long as Washington fails to show Tehran respect.
"We do not have preconditions, but we can say that what is required for dialogue is mutual respect, not mutual confidence," Zarif said in an interview with Kyodo News.
He said the administration of US President Donald Trump could smooth the way for dialogue by adhering to the 2015 Iran nuclear deal that Trump "illegally" pulled out of earlier this year and by halting its unilateral sanctions imposed since then -- both things that he argued Washington is legally obligated to do.
According to the deal struck with six major powers -- Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia and the United States -- Iran agreed to curb its nuclear activities in exchange for the lifting of crippling economic sanctions.
On May 8, Trump withdrew the United States from the accord, struck under his predecessor Barack Obama, and pledged "the highest level of economic sanction" against Iran, calling it "the leading state sponsor of terror."
After U.S. withdrawal, Iran has opted to stay in deal, at least for now, and cooperate with Europe to salvage it.
However, the sanctions are hitting Iran's economy hard, adding fuel to protests against the regime over inflation, lack of services and the regime's support of terrorism, even as the mullahs attempt to circumvent the sanctions by smuggling oil, money and weapons.
Trump has been adamant to see the sanctions through and force the Khamenei regime into giving up its ambitions of spreading violence, chaos and the Iranian revolution throughout the region.