Official Refutes Pompeo’s Claim, Says Defense Power Iran’s Red Line

Iranian President’s Chief of Staff Mahmoud Vaezi rejected the claim by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo that Tehran was ready to hold talks on its missile capabilities.

Speaking to reporters on the sidelines of a weekly cabinet session on Wednesday, Vaezi categorically dismissed Pompeo’s claim that Iran appeared willing to negotiate over its missile program.

“Our defense power is our red line, and we have announced repeatedly that we won’t negotiate over it,” the president’s chief of staff underlined.

“We have heard a lot of paradoxical remarks from the US officials so far, and the current US administration has made paradoxical comments more than others,” Vaezi deplored.

Pompeo said on Tuesday that Iran appeared ready for missile talks “for the first time,” in what he and US President Donald Trump presented as evidence that sanctions and military pressure against Iran were working.

Only within hours of the statement to reporters, delivered before a cabinet meeting at the White House, the idea was shot down by Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, who was in New York for a UN meeting.

A spokesman for Zarif said Pompeo and Trump had misinterpreted the Iranian foreign minister’s public statements, in which he reiterated that if Washington “wants to talk about missiles, it should stop selling weapons, including missiles, to regional states.”

Iranian diplomatic and military officials maintain that the country’s missile power would be never subject to negotiations.

In comments in May, Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei categorically dismissed the idea of talks with the US, saying, “Negotiation is poison. As long as the US continues to be what it is now - as Imam once said, ‘as long as he does not act like a decent human being’: this is how he worded it - our negotiation with the US is poison, even more so with the current administration.”

Ayatollah Khamenei has also reiterated on various occasions that Iran’s defense capabilities and power are not subject to negotiations.

“We will have no bargaining and dealing with the enemy over the country’s means of defense and over whatever provides or supports the national power,” the Leader said in October 2017.

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