TEHRAN (Dispatches) – Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei told visiting Japanese prime minister on Thursday he does not consider U.S. President Donald Trump "worthy" of exchanging messages with.
"We have no doubt in your good will and seriousness but regarding what you said the U.S. president told you, I don't consider Trump as a person worthy of exchanging messages with," Ayatollah Khamenei told Shinzo Abe, in footage of their meeting aired by official television.
"I have no response for him and will not answer him," the Leader added.
Iran "has no trust in America and will not in any way repeat the bitter experience of the previous negotiations with America," Ayatollah Khamenei said in comments published by his official website.
"Iran engaged in talks with the U.S. and the Europeans for some five or six years, and achieved a result. The Americans, however, breached a done deal,” said the Leader, emphasizing that no wise man would enter talks with a country that has reneged on all agreements.
Iran has been locked in a bitter standoff with the United States since May last year when Trump abandoned a landmark 2015 nuclear deal negotiated by his predecessor Barack Obama's administration.
Washington has since reimposed unilateral sanctions -- which have forced Tokyo to halt its once-substantial purchases of Iranian oil -- and has launched a military buildup in the Persian Gulf that has sent tensions soaring.
Ayatollah Khamenei rejected as "a lie” Trump’s claim that he was not after regime change in Iran, saying if the U.S. president were able to bring about such a change, he would definitely go for it.
The Leader dismissed Washington’s claim of readiness for "honest negotiations” with Tehran, saying "honesty is highly scarce among American statesmen.”
Ayatollah Khamenei pointed to Trump’s talks with Abe, saying "Right after returning home, he (the U.S. president) announced sanctions on Iran’s petrochemical industry.”
"Is that a message of honesty? Does that show that he (Trump) seeks honest talks?” the Leader asked.
"With the blessing of God, Iran will achieve progress without negotiations with the U.S. and under all the sanctions,” Ayatollah Khamenei said. "Problems will not be solved through negotiations with the United States.”
The Leader also reaffirmed the Islamic Republic’s firm opposition to the development and use of nuclear weapons.
"I have issued a fatwa (religious decree) prohibiting the production of nuclear weapons, but you need to know that if we were after building nuclear arms, the United States could not do anything about it,” Ayatollah Khamenei said.
The Leader emphasized that Washington is in no position to decide which country can be in possession of nuclear arms while it is, itself, stockpiling several thousands of nuclear warheads.
Ayatollah Khamenei welcomed Abe’s proposal for enhancing Tehran-Tokyo relations and said, "Japan is an important country in Asia and it should display a firm resolve for enhanced ties with Iran.”
Following the meeting, Abe told reporters in Tehran that Ayatollah Khamenei had "made a comment that the country will not and should not make, hold or use nuclear weapons, and that it has no such intentions.”
The Japanese prime minister also said that he regarded the Leader’s belief in peace "as a major progress toward this region’s peace and stability.”
"President Trump has said he does not wish to see escalation of tensions," Abe told reporters after his meeting.
"I shared candidly with Ayatollah Khamenei my own views about what intention the president has in mind", Abe added, emphasizing he had "exchanged views with President Trump several times".