Washington Ready to Offer Benefits If Iran Changes Tack

Washington Ready to Offer Benefits If Iran Changes Tack  Washington Ready to Offer Benefits If Iran Changes Tack

The United States has expressed readiness to hold discussions with Iran, which would offer benefits for the country in case it altered its ways.

In an exclusive interview with Asharq Al-Awsat, the US envoy on Iran, Brian Hook, said, "We are prepared to be discussing a great many benefits for Iran if Iranians chose to adopt a different path."

He said the US administration has set forth the areas that it would like to talk about with Iran, "and a bit part of that is all the areas that have the positive things for the Iranian people."

US President Donald Trump tore up a nuclear deal between Tehran and six world powers earlier this year and is now seeking to negotiate a "treaty" to include Tehran's ballistic missile program and its regional behavior.

By imposing severe sanctions that the White House says will only be part of a package of unprecedented measures, Washington hopes to force Tehran to return to the negotiating table.

Iran has rejected US attempts to hold high-level talks, saying Washington cannot be trusted as it has violated the terms of the last big deal they agreed in 2015.

Iran views the US as acting in bad faith by withdrawing from the deal and has long blamed Washington for stoking instability in the Middle East. It has declared that Trump's offer to negotiate contradicts his actions.

Trump's administration contends that the mistake in the Iranian nuclear deal was that it was limited to the country's nuclear activities while "Iran's range of threats" are much bigger than its nuclear program.

Hook had earlier said the new deal that Washington hoped to sign with Iran would not be a "personal agreement between two governments like the last one; we seek a treaty."

He noted in his interview that the agreement of former president, Barack Obama, could only exist as long as he was in office and lost its legal status when he left.

"The Iran nuclear deal was not submitted as a treaty to the Senate, because it did not enjoy the support of the Congress," Hook said, stressing that a treaty was more permanent and sustainable as it is negotiated by the president and ratified by the Senate.

In response, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif dismissed the characterization of the nuclear deal as a "personal agreement", saying it was "an international accord enshrined in a UN [Security Council resolution]".

"The US has violated its treaty obligations too ... Apparently, the US only mocks calls for peace," he added.


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