In a statement on Sunday, June 9, more than 200 civil and political activists living in and outside of Iran called for unconditional talks between Iran and the U.S.
Referencing the Iranian people’s desire for détente with forces around the region and world at large, 225 signatories to the statement called for the public and civil and political activists to urge the Iranian and American administrations to hold talks.
Though critical of the U.S. and Saudi Arabia's foreign policy, activists sought to move international public opinion and independent organizations to call upon Iranian and American authorities to reduce the tension and hold unconditional talks, Zeitoons website reported.
The tension between Tehran and Washington intensified last year after President Donald Trump withdrew from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or Iran's “nuclear deal,” with world powers and reimposed sanctions on the Islamic Republic on May 8, 2018.
Meanwhile, President Trump has repeatedly asserted that he was ready for talks with Iran.
Retaliating to Trump, the Islamic Republic Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, rejected the offer, dismissing the talks with Washington as "poisonous."
Khamenei argued, "When the enemy bullies you, if you take a step back, he will come forward. To prevent enemies from transgressing, you should resist. Resistance and defiance in the face of the enemy's avarice and coercion is the way to repel the enemy."
Describing the U.S. as Iran's primary enemy, Khamenei said on June 4, "Surrender is much more costly than resistance."
Responding to Khamenei's remark, the Iranian activists have insisted that holding talks does not mean surrendering.
"Unconditional talks between the two sides of a dispute could have different aims, including crisis management, preventing unwanted wars, and playing with the real existing cards," the signatories to the statement affirmed.
Meanwhile, activists caution that dismissing offers for talks will allow other powers to use Iran as a card in their favor, against the interests of the Iranian nation.
As Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is scheduled to visit Tehran on Wednesday, activists have asserted that Abe's visit is an appropriate occasion for the Islamic Republic authorities to welcome his mediation between Tehran and Washington.
Abe, the first Japanese Prime Minister to visit Iran in four decades, is scheduled to hold talks with Khamenei and President Hassan Rouhani.
A senior Iranian legislator previously called for the United States and Iran to hold talks in Iraq or Qatar to defuse tensions amid a U.S. military build-up in the Gulf.
The chairman of Majlis’ (Iranian Parliament) powerful National Security and Foreign Policy Commission, Hashmatollah Falahat Pisheh, urged negotiations on Friday, May 17, citing attempts by "third-parties" to provoke a conflict despite senior officials in Tehran and Washington rejecting war.
"There must be a red desk in Iraq or Qatar where the two sides can meet to end this tension," Falahatpisheh tweeted.
Ahmad Montazeri, Ebrahim Asgharzadeh, Azadeh Kian, Behrouz Bayat, Jalal Jalalizadeh, Emadoddin Baqi, Farrokh Negahdar, Ali Keshtgar, and Mehrangiz Kar are among the activists who have signed the statement.