US President Donald Trump has reportedly informed Iranian officials that he is willing to fire his hawkish national security adviser, John Bolton, as a gesture of good will ahead of talks with the Islamic Republic.
Citing an unnamed senior Iranian government official, the Al Jazeera said in a new report that the letter might be delivered by the Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who is due in Tehran next week.
The unnamed source within Iran’s Foreign Ministry confirmed to Al Jazeera that Washington was indeed attempting to change its behavior in order to pave the way for talks but Iran was not interested.
The source said Iran would consider talks only if the US returned to the 2015 nuclear deal, which Trump abandoned in May last year. This is while, he said, Washington insists talks are necessary to prevent a military conflict.
He said the US letter stated that Trump was ready to sack Bolton but Iran did not trust the US and viewed the attempts as political theatre ahead of the 2020 US presidential elections.
If true, the U-turn on Washington’s part signals a growing will to de-escalate tensions with Iran especially since it is following a decision by the Trump administration to delay a new round of sanctions against Iran’s petrochemical industry.
It also comes after US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s recent visit to Switzerland, where he announced Washington was ready to ditch all of its preconditions and sit down for talks with Tehran on equal grounds.
Iran’s response, however, was not what the US expected.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said the offer was testament to Iran’s power but Iran would only agree to talks once the US makes up for its policies in the past and approaches the Islamic Republic with respect.
“The Islamic Republic of Iran does not pay attention to wordplay and expression of hidden agenda in new forms,” said Foreign Ministry spokesman Seyyed Abbas Mousavi.
Leader of Iran’s Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei made it clear last month that any negotiations with the US were “poisonous” and that a war was simply not possible as Washington knew it would lose any such confrontation with Iran.
A known Iran hawk, Bolton is believed to be the mastermind behind most of Trump’s anti-Iran policies.
He has also been an avid advocate of “regime change” in Iran and had even promised a 2017 gathering of the anti-Iran MEK terrorists in the French capital of Paris that he looked forward to hold the next conference in Tehran in a year’s time.