Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Khamenei on Tuesday said that Tehran will not engage in negotiations with the US “at any level” as tensions mount between the arch-foes after Washington blamed Tehran for attacks on Saudi oil installations.
“The policy of ‘maximum pressure’ against the Iranian nation is worthless and all Islamic Republic of Iran officials unanimously believe there will be no negotiations with the US at any level,” he said.
Khamenei’s remarks come after the US has indicated that Iran had carried out the September 14 attacks on two Saudi Arabian oil fields which led to cut global oil supplies by 5 per cent and an increase in prices.
On Sunday, the US President Donald Trump could meet Iranian counterpart Hassan Rouhani on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in New York next week, according to the White House.
Tehran and Washington have been at loggerheads since May last year when Trump withdrew from a 2015 nuclear deal and began reimposing crippling sanctions.
Iran responded by scaling back its commitments under the landmark accord, which gave it the promise of sanctions relief in return for curbs on its nuclear programme.
The UN General Assembly debate opens on September 24.
Earlier this month, the United States had imposed its first-ever sanctions against Iran’s space agency, accusing it of disguising a missile program.
In response to the US, President Rouhani said that they should lift sanctions against Iran as a precondition for negotiations.
The attacks on September 14 was carried out by 10 unmanned aircraft. It hit the Hijra Khurais – one of Saudi Arabia’s largest oil fields, producing about 1.5 million barrels a day – and Abqaiq, the world’s biggest crude stabilization facility, which processes seven million barrels of Saudi oil a day, or about 8 per cent of the world’s total output.
Although the Yemeni Houthi rebels have claimed responsibility for the attack, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has denied it, saying, “There is no evidence the attacks came from Yemen” while blaming Iran instead.
(With Agencies inputs)