Iran will never hold talks with the United States and Washington's policy of maximum pressure on Tehran will fail, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said on Tuesday, according to state TV.
Khamenei’s comments come after a devastating attack on Saudi Arabia’s key oil installations last Saturday, which the United States has blamed Iran for.
This is not a new position by the Islamic Republic leader, who has consistently opposed talk since the United States withdrew from the 2015 nuclear deal and reimposed tough sanctions on Iran.
In recent weeks French President Macron has been trying to find a way to reduce tensions and help pave the way for a meeting between Donald Trump and Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani. However, the attack on Saudi Arabia seems to have dashed any hopes of an early meeting during the U.N. General Assembly.
U.S. President Donald Trump had said on Monday he could meet with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and that he had no problem with such an encounter.
State TV quoted Khamenei as saying: "Iranian officials will never talk to America ... this is part of their (U.S.) policy to put pressure on Iran ... their policy of maximum pressure will fail."
But U.S. sanctions have had a profound impact on Iran’s economy, with a devalued currency, high inflation and almost no oil exports. Iran has repeatedly threatened that if it is prevented from selling its oil, other exporting countries will also suffer.