Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on Tuesday ruled out negotiations with the United States, as tensions mount after Washington blamed Tehran for attacks on Saudi oil installations.
“The policy of ‘maximum pressure’ against the Iranian nation is worthless and all Islamic Republic of Iran officials unanimously believe there will be no negotiations with the US at any level,” he said, quoted on his official website.
The White House said on Sunday that US President Donald Trump could meet Iranian counterpart Hassan Rouhani on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in New York next week. The UN General Assembly debate opens on September 24.
However, Trump on Sunday walked back previous statements indicating that he was willing to meet with Rouhani without preconditions, calling reports to the contrary fake news. However, this contradicts several previous public statements he has made.
The Fake News is saying that I am willing to meet with Iran, “No Conditions.” That is an incorrect statement (as usual!).
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 15, 2019
Tehran and Washington have been at loggerheads since May last year when Trump withdrew from a 2015 nuclear deal and began reimposing crippling sanctions. Iran responded by scaling back its commitments under the landmark accord, which gave it the promise of sanctions relief in return for curbs on its nuclear program.
A senior Trump administration official told ABC News on Sunday that Iran fired dozens of cruise missiles and drones in the massive attack on Saudi oil facilities Saturday that shut down half of the kingdom’s output and sent energy prices skyward. The official claimed that about a dozen cruise missiles and 20 drones were launched from Iran in the attack.
Hitting back, a top Iranian commander warned that Tehran was prepared for an all-out war with the United States and said his country could launch advanced missiles at US bases and aircraft carriers within a range of 2,000 kilometers (1,242 miles).
On Sunday, the commander of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Aerospace Force, Amir Ali Hajizadeh, was quoted by the semi-official Tasnim news agency as saying: “Everybody should know that all American bases and their aircraft carriers in a distance of up to 2,000 kilometers around Iran are within the range of our missiles,” according to Reuters.