Talking with Washington is akin to talking with the devil, a senior official with Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) said, downplaying the US military presence in the region as the “weakest in history.”
“Negotiating with the devil, the Quran says, bears no fruit,” the deputy commander of the IRGC, Rear Admiral Ali Fadavi, said, as cited by Fars News Agency.
Fadavi made his remarks while talking about the longtime lack of effective negotiations between Tehran and Washington.
He also did not mince his words on the state of the US military presence in the region, labeling it the “weakest in [its] history.” The influence of Saudi Arabia, a US major ally and arms-buyer, in the Middle East has also been diminished over the years, the official added.
The Pentagon deployed the USS Abraham Lincoln carrier strike group near the Persian Gulf in early May and sent three guided-missile destroyers to join it earlier this week. Tehran had been downplaying the buildup of US forces near its waters but said that its Navy is prepared to target the American ships should a conflict break out.
Iran partially suspended its commitments under the 2015 deal on its nuclear program, known as the JCPOA, after several rounds of sanctions from Washington which unilaterally withdrew from the agreement last year. Iranian officials promised to roll back their decision if the European Union continues to respect the deal.
Washington and Tehran have not had formal diplomatic ties since 1980. Iranian diplomats recently told Reuters that Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif had never directly spoken with his US counterpart, Mike Pompeo.