US ready to talk to Iran, but pressure to continue says Secretary of State Pompeo

WION Web Team New Delhi, Delhi, India Feb 19, 2020, 06.37 PM(IST)

File photo: US State Secretary Mike Pompeo Photograph:( Reuters )

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The latest statement came days after Iran President Hassan Rouhani said that his country will never yield to America's pressure for talks.

A campaign of maximum pressure against Iran would continue, said US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Wednesday. Pompeo also said that the authorities in Washington are ready to talk to Iran "anytime", but that it needed to "fundamentally" change its behaviour. 

"We are not rushed, the pressure campaign continues. It's not just an economic pressure campaign... it's isolation through diplomacy as well", Pompeo told reporters in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa before boarding a flight to Saudi Arabia.

The latest statement comes days after Iran President Hassan Rouhani had said that his country will never yield to America's pressure for talks.

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"Iran will never negotiate under pressure ... We will never yield to America's pressure and we will not negotiate from a position of weakness. America's 'maximum pressure' towards Iran is doomed to failure," Rouhani said.

Tensions have increased between Iran and the United States since 2018 when President Donald Trump exited a 2015 nuclear deal between Tehran and six world powers and Washington reimposed sanctions on Tehran that has crippled its economy.

Also read: US will not lift sanctions to negotiate with Iran: Donald Trump

Trump administration wants a new deal that further curbs Iran's nuclear programme, ends its ballistic missile programme and its involvement in decades of proxy wars in the Middle East.

Tehran has rejected holding negotiations over a new deal, saying talks are possible only if the United States returns to the nuclear pact and lifts sanctions.

Iran has been involved in decades of regional proxy wars with its key regional rival Saudi Arabia.

"Securing peace and stability in the sensitive region of the Middle East and in the Persian Gulf is impossible without Iran's help," Rouhani said.

(With inputs from Reuters)