Accessibility links

Breaking News

Tehran Talks Tough As Japan's Abe Prepares Trip To Iran

Iranian Foreign ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi. File photo
Iranian Foreign ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi. File photo

As news reports indicate Japan's prime minister is preparing for a trip to Iran and meetings with top officials, Iran's foreign ministry on Tuesday said that Tehran currently does not see "a prospect for negotiations".

Spokesperson of the ministry, Abbas Mousavi confirming that the date of Shinzo Abe's visit is being coordinated, reiterated that "Iran has no plans to negotiate with any U.S. official", and added, "we do not need any channels" and "for now we have no special message for anyone".

Mousavi, however called Abe's trip a "turning point" and said Iran would "wait and see" before deciding on any offers of negotiations.

At the same time, Iran's influential Revolutionary Guard said Tuesday it doesn't fear a possible war with the United States and claimed that America hasn't grown in power in recent years — the latest tough talk from Tehran amid escalating regional tensions and a crisis with Washington.

"The enemy is not more powerful than before," said the Guard spokesman, Gen. Ramazan Sharif.

Speaking at a press conference in Tehran, Sharif said the Guard doesn't "support engaging in any war" while at the same time it doesn't "fear the occurrence of a war."

"We have enough readiness to defend the country," he said, adding that Iran has boosted its military power over the past 30 years.

Meanwhile, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif appeared unimpressed with Japan's offer to mediate in the crisis, saying Trump should make his intentions clear about any talks with Iran through actions, not words.

Zarif said in a late Monday tweet: "Actions_not words_will show..."

Iran has said it has no interest in negotiations with Washington following Trump's pullout from the nuclear deal and the re-imposing of sanctions on Iran. Zarif in his tweet also blamed Trump's economic pressure on Iran for the regional tensions.

Japanese media have reported that Abe is considering a visit to Iran next month. The Kyodo News agency, citing unidentified government sources, said Friday that Abe's visit would be likely in mid-June. Earlier this month, Zarif visited Tokyo.

The U.S. also has accused Iran of being behind a string of incidents this month, including what officials allege was sabotage of oil tankers off the coast of the United Arab Emirates and a rocket that landed near the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, while Yemen's Iranian-aligned Houthi rebels launched a string of drone attacks targeting Saudi Arabia.

A Dubai-based, government-aligned newspaper criticized Zarif in a rare front-page editorial Tuesday.

The Gulf News piece, headlined "No thank you, Mr. Zarif," dismissed his recent offer of forming a nonaggression pact with Gulf Arab nations and said the countries are not buying Zarif's "nice neighbor routine."

The paper says Iran "continues to call for the overthrow of Arab governments, sends its agents to spy and sabotage, aiming at spreading chaos in Gulf countries, such as Bahrain and Kuwait and more recently off Fujairah and in Saudi Arabia."

"Nobody wants war in this region," the newspaper added. "But Iran should instead focus on its daunting internal problems which cannot be resolved by constantly fomenting aggression against our countries."

The UAE is part of a Saudi-led coalition that has waged war on Yemen's Houthi rebels since 2015, backed by Iran. Tehran, however, denies arming the Houthis.

Reporting by AP, Radio Farda, DPA