US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that Washington was willing to hold talks with Iran to lower tensions in the Persian Gulf “with no preconditions.”
“We are prepared to engage in a conversation with no preconditions. We are ready to sit down with them,” Pompeo told a joint news conference on Sunday in Switzerland with Swiss Foreign Minister Ignazio Cassis.
Tensions between Washington and Tehran have escalated significantly over the past month, with the US accusing Iran of continued malign activity and unspecified threats against the United States and its allies. Washington has also increased its military presence in the region.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on Saturday suggested that Tehran would be open to negotiations with the US if Washington showed respect and abided by international rules. But he said Tehran would not allow Washington to force it to the table.
But Pompeo also is making clear that “the American effort to fundamentally reverse the malign activity of this Islamic Republic, this revolutionary force, is going to continue.”
President Donald Trump has signaled willingness to talk with Iran’s leadership. Iranian officials have hinted at the possibility but have also insisted they will not be bulled.