June 26, 2019 - 11:28 AMT
PanARMENIAN.Net - Recent calls from U.S. officials for greater diplomacy with Tehran are not genuine, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has said, as tensions between the two countries continue to mount, The Middle East Eye reports.
In a tweet on Tuesday, June 25, Zarif pointed to a 2017 column by John Bolton in which the U.S. national security adviser encourages the U.S. to keep the possibility of talks with Iran open - but only rhetorically.
The end goal of such overtures from Washington, Bolton openly argued in the piece, is to "demonstrate" that Tehran wants to develop nuclear weapons.
"Iran never left the negotiation table. #B_Team dragged the U.S. out, while plotting for war," Zarif tweeted.
The foreign minister has frequently criticised Bolton, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Saudi Crown Prince Mohamed bin Salman, whom he calls the "B Team", for stoking anti-Iran hostility.
His comment comes amid calls for talks between Washington and Tehran to stem ongoing tensions.
Even Bolton - a hawkish member of the Trump administration who has advocated regime change in Iran - recently said the U.S. wants to enter into "real negotiations" with Iran.
But his 2017 column laid out a strategy for the U.S. to leave the most critical diplomatic agreement involving the U.S. and Iran in years: the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).
That multinational agreement saw Iran drastically scale back its nuclear programme in exchange for the lifting of sanctions against its economy.