A day after suggestions emerged that Iran’s missiles could be negotiable, senior Iranian officials denied the interpretation of words of Iran’s foreign minister that Iran might return to the negotiating table, and attacked media reports that had suggested its openness to talks.
Reports that Iran may be open to negotiate led to oil prices slumping on Tuesday as market participants construed the reported openness for talks as a sign of de-escalation of the tensions between the U.S. and Iran.
According to Iran, media reports in the AP about an interview of Iran’s Foreign Minister Javad Zarif with NBC News misinterpreted the words of the Iranian minister that “if the US wants to talk about missiles, it should stop selling weapons, including missiles, to regional states” as meaning that Iran was willing to negotiate on its defensive missile program at some point.
The interpretation of Zarif’s comments led to U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo saying during a cabinet meeting on Tuesday that “I think it was yesterday or maybe the day before — for the first time, the Iranians have said that they’re prepared to negotiate about their missile program.”
“In response, Iran strongly dismissed the US claims that the Islamic Republic’s missile program could be a topic for negotiation with the United States, emphasizing that its missiles are absolutely and under no condition negotiable with anyone, any country or for any period,” Iran’s Fars news agency said on Wednesday.
Alireza Miryousefi, the spokesman of the Iranian mission at the United Nations tweeted “We categorically reject the AP’s characterization of [Zarif’s] comments to NBC News that ‘if the US wants to talk about missiles, it should stop selling weapons, including missiles, to regional states’ as meaning that Iran is willing to negotiate on its defensive missile program at some point.”
Iran’s missiles “are absolutely and under no condition negotiable with anyone or any country, period,” Miryousefi said, and blamed reporters for “drawing a false conclusion in pursuit of headlines.”
By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com
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