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US ready to talk to Iran ‘with no preconditions’ … if it behaves like ‘normal nation’ – Pompeo

US ready to talk to Iran ‘with no preconditions’ … if it behaves like ‘normal nation’ – Pompeo
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the US is ready to engage in talks with Tehran without preconditions, yet rolled out the same demand other US adversaries have already heard – it should behave like a “normal nation.”

“We are prepared to engage in a conversation with no preconditions, we are ready to sit down,” Pompeo said during a joint news conference with his Swiss counterpart Ignazio Cassis on Sunday.

Such a statement might have looked like an attempt to tone down the hostile rhetoric toward Tehran, yet Pompeo managed to contradict himself in the very same speech. The negotiations would actually be only possible if Iran behaves like a “normal nation,” he added.

“We are certainly prepared to have that conversation when the Iranians can prove that they want to behave like a normal nation,” the official stated. Back in November, Pompeo sent the same vague message to Beijing, urging it to “behave like a normal nation” after a number of Chinese citizens were indicted by a US court for alleged spying.

It's not the first time Washington has sent mixed signals to Tehran over its willingness to negotiate. Last June, President Donald Trump expressed readiness to talk to Iran “anytime they want” with no preconditions – but hours after Pompeo rolled out a list of 12 far-reaching demands Iran had to meet before such talks would happen.

Tehran, for its part, has been more consistent with its stance towards the possibility of dialogue, urging the US to lift sanctions first. On Saturday, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said the country would talk to the US only if the latter showed “respect” instead of pressing Tehran into negotiations.

“We are for logic and talks if [the US] sits respectfully at the negotiating table and follows international regulations, not if it issues an order to negotiate,” Rouhani stated, as quoted by Fars news agency.

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The tensions between the US and Iran have been soaring over the past few weeks, as Washington ramped up its warlike rhetoric and dispatched additional military forces to the Middle East region. The US has accused Iran of plotting to attack its citizens in neighboring countries and pinned the blame on it for the shady incident with Saudi tankers in the UAE – without providing any solid proof. Tehran has firmly rejected all the accusations, insisting that it's not planning to attack anyone but is ready to defend itself from any aggression.

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