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Tillerson Mentions Possibility of Talks With Zarif

Tillerson Mentions Possibility of Talks With ZarifTillerson Mentions Possibility of Talks With Zarif

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said he will talk with his Iranian counterpart "at the right time" after elections in Iran saw moderate President Hassan Rouhani return to power.

"I've never shut off the phone to anyone that wants to talk or have a productive conversation," Tillerson said in Riyadh of Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, Bloomberg reported.

"At this point, I have no plans to call my counterpart in Iran, although in all likelihood, we will talk at the right time."

Tillerson and Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir, at a joint press conference, had tough words for Iran after Saturday's election results, saying they wanted to see action, not just rhetoric, from Tehran's re-elected president.

They spoke on the first day of President Donald Trump's visit to Saudi Arabia, where he is making a case to Arab leaders across the region that facing up to common threats, including  Iran's alleged destabilizing role, gives them the opportunity to forge new regional partnerships.

Rouhani, 68, won a second term easily over conservative cleric Ebrahim Raeisi. The margin of victory was seen as an endorsement of his efforts since he took office in 2013 to steer the nation out of isolation through its landmark nuclear deal with world powers.

Tillerson claimed he wants Rouhani to "begin a process of dismantling Iran's network of terrorism, dismantling its financing of the terrorist network, dismantling of the manning and the logistics and everything that they provide to these destabilizing forces that exist in this region."

"That's what we hope this election will bring. I'm not going to comment on my expectation."

The two ministers, the Saudi in particular, whose country is  involved in internal oppression, foreign military interventions and human rights abuses, apparently did not have time for reflecting on their own controversial and questionable records.

Iran backs regional resistance groups, such as Lebanon's Hezbollah, which are considered "terrorists" by the US. It also supports the anti-terror campaign of its regional allies, namely in Iraq and Syria, an effort often criticized by Washington and its regional allies as a "sectarian move that undermines stability."    

Jubeir declined to offer an opinion on the likely impact of Rouhani's re-election, saying that who Iran chooses as its leader is its own business. "We continue to base our Iran policy on its deeds."

Iran's behavior is not that of "a country that wants others to treat it with respect," he said. "If Iran wants to be a normal country, it has to act in accordance with international law."

 

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