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Khamenei to Japan PM: Trump 'Not Worthy of Exchanging Messages'

Khamenei to Japan PM: Trump 'Not Worthy of Exchanging Messages'

Thursday, 13 June, 2019 - 09:45
A handout photo made available by the Iranian supreme leader office shows Khamenei (R) talking to Abe during a meeting in Tehran, Iran, 13 June 2019. EPA
Asharq Al-Awsat
Iran's supreme leader said on Thursday he does not consider US President Donald Trump "worthy" of exchanging messages with, vowing not to repeat Tehran’s “bitter experience” of negotiations with Washington.

"I don't consider Trump as a person worthy of exchanging messages with. I have no response for him and will not answer him," Ali Khamenei told Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, in footage of their meeting aired by state television in a rarity for such high-level talks.

Khamenei also said Trump's promise not to seek regime change in Iran was "a lie", adding that he did not believe Washington's offer of "honest negotiations" with Tehran.

Iran has no intention of making or using nuclear weapons, Khamenei was also quoted as saying by Abe.

Khamenei's comment, a reiteration of Iran's stance, comes at a time of increased US-Iranian tension, a year after Washington abandoned the 2015 agreement between Iran and world powers to curb its nuclear program in exchange for the lifting of international financial sanctions.

"Supreme Leader Khamenei made a comment that the country will not and should not make, hold or use nuclear weapons, and that it has no such intentions," Abe told reporters in Tehran following the meeting.

Abe is the first-ever Japanese prime minister to hold talks with Khamenei.

Trump said later Thursday that he appreciated the recent visit by Abe to Iran to meet Khamenei, but that he believed it is "too soon to even think about" the United States making a deal with Tehran.

"They are not ready, and neither are we!" Trump said in a tweet.

On Wednesday, Abe warned of unintended clashes in the crisis-hit Middle East after meeting Iranian President Hassan Rouhani.

Abe was in Iran to help ease rising tension between Washington and Tehran.

Japan is in a unique position to act as a mediator as the US ally has long maintained close ties with Iran.

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