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Two Iranian Officials Confirm Zarif Rejected Invitation To Visit White House

File photo - Secretary of the Supreme National Security Council of Iran, Ali Shamkhani, undated.
File photo - Secretary of the Supreme National Security Council of Iran, Ali Shamkhani, undated.

Two Iranian officials confirmed on Sunday, August 4, that the Islamic Republic's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif turned down an American Senator's offer to visit the White House.

The Supreme National Security Council Secretary, the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps' Rear Admiral, Ali Shamkhani said in a note, "Sanctioning the Iranian Foreign Minister after he rejected Trump's invitation for talks showed that the train of maximum pressure has been stopped in the failure station and all those aboard have no other choice than switch the railroad to the direction of implementing commitments and respecting legal rights of the Islamic Republic of Iran."

The government spokesman, Ali Rabiee also on Sunday criticized that Zarif was sanctioned after he had been invited to go to the White House.

Rabiee also said, "Mr. Zarif is set to hold a press conference tomorrow to expand on Trump's offer to negotiate with Iran," adding, "We do not believe in negotiations merely for a photoshoot purpose. Even if we consent to talk to America, there is no guarantee that the White House would not change its position---White House is merely a 'House of Cards'. We do not differentiate between the Republicans and the Democrats, and will not fall victim to the competition between the two."

Earlier on August 2, The New Yorker had reported that before the U.S. imposed sanctions on Iran’s foreign minister, Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) tried to set up a meeting between Zarif and Trump in Washington.

Zarif and Paul discussed recent developments in the Persian Gulf, including the shooting down of an American drone and the nuclear deal, New Yorker reported, adding that Zarif also laid out Iran's conditions for a new nuclear deal with Washington.

Paul proposed to Zarif to talk to the president himself, but he responded that it wasn't his call to make.

The White House has declined to comment on this report, so far.

The U.S. officials have repeatedly insisted in the recent months that under the "maximum pressure," the Islamic Republic's leaders would ultimately concede and return to the negotiating table.

Nonetheless, the Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has asserted that should Washington not cancel its sanctions and end economic pressures on Iran, Tehran would never return to talks with the U.S.

In the meantime, the Islamic Republic's Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has insisted that negotiating with the U.S. is always a "lethal poison", while talking to the Trump's Administration is twice as lethal.