‘Dialogue at gunpoint’: Bolton says Iran’s ‘silence’ is DEAFENING while it’s actually pretty vocal
US National Security Advisor John Bolton has said that defiant Iran stays silent over meaningful talks with Washington, when, in fact, Tehran repeatedly argued that a barrage of threats and sanctions has made talks impossible.
Bolton blamed Iran for avoiding dialogue with the US during his visit to Jerusalem on Tuesday.
As we speak, American diplomatic representatives are surging across the Middle East, seeking a path to peace. In response, Iran’s silence has been deafening.
The official insisted that Washington “has held the door open for real negotiations,” and all Iran needs to do is to “walk through that open door.” Bolton explained that by doing so Iran must fulfill a laundry list of demands put forward by the US, including the one to “completely and verifiably” eliminate its “nuclear weapons program” and end “malignant behavior worldwide.”
Iran, meanwhile, has been anything but silent about the prospect of negotiating with the US. The country had consistently maintained that it is ready to talk if Washington refrains from issuing threats and slapping new sanctions on Tehran.
Iran stands ready for dialogue, given that it goes on “equal footing and mutual respect,” Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said in January. The minister often blamed Bolton and other foreign policy hardliners at the White House for pushing President Donald Trump from peaceful solutions towards a more bellicose stance.
The Islamic Republic also made it clear that meaningful talks cannot go in hand with the Trump administration’s strategy of applying “maximum pressure” on Iran. On Monday, the US announced plans to blacklist Zarif along with Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei in retaliation to Iran downing a US drone it claims violated its airspace last week. Tehran responded by saying that sanctions against the nation’s top leadership effectively close “the path of diplomacy” and do not create the right atmosphere for talks.
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Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani put it more bluntly, saying that the new sanctions are a sign of Washington’s “desperation” and “the White House actions show it is mentally retarded.”
You [the Americans] call for negotiations. If you are telling the truth, why are you simultaneously seeking to sanction our foreign minister, too?
The promise to enact new sanctions shows that the US is “lying” in the offer of talks with Tehran, Rouhani stressed.
Moscow, whose senior security official Nikolai Patrushev met with Bolton on Tuesday, had also blasted the new round of US sanctions on Iran. The restrictions “negate all of the repeatedly-sent signals that Washington is open and ready to engage in dialogue,” Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov said.
You can’t have dialogue at gunpoint, literally and figuratively speaking.
All the recent diplomatic maneuvers by the US have been “aimed at mobilizing an anti-Iranian front,” Ryabkov stated.
The decades-long row between Tehran and Washington escalated dramatically last year when the US unilaterally abandoned the 2015 nuclear deal, known as the JCPOA, while accusing Iran of secretly violating the agreement. Iran denied this, and the nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), in its latest reports had confirmed that the nation was following the deal.
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