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Zarif Again Rejects Bilateral Talks With Washington

Iranian Foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif speaking in a session of parliament on January 20, 2020.

Iran’s foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has rejected bilateral talk with the United States Sunday and said the only channel for negotiations is the multilateral 5+1 framework of the 2015 nuclear agreement signatories.

In a tweet Zarif said, “.@realDonaldTrump is still dreaming about a bilateral meeting—to satisfy HIS lust for a "Trump deal". It’s wishful thinking.”

Iran’s top diplomat added that the only path to talks is return to the pre-2017 conditions and “AND compensating Iran for damages.”

The United States pulled out of the nuclear deal or the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) in May 2018 and reimposed tough sanctions on Iran. U.S. President Donald Trump has since said that he is ready for talks without preconditions, but Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei has rejected negotiations accusing Washington of duplicity.

Earlier in the day Zarif had tweeted that his interview with Der Spiegel where he had said Iran is ready for talks was misunderstood by Trump. He insisted that the JCPOA framework is what he meant. This was in reaction to Trump saying that Zarif had expressed willingness for talks in exchange for lifting the sanctions and added, “No. Thanks”.

The U.S. is demanding a new comprehensive agreement that would permanently block Iran's path to nuclear weapons, curtail Iran's ballistic missile program and change Iran's regional behavior.