Iran Has `Open Door’ to Engage U.S. in Nuke Talks, Bolton Says

Iran Has `Open Door’ to Engage U.S. in Nuke Talks, Bolton Says

© Reuters. Iran Has `Open Door’ to Engage U.S. in Nuke Talks, Bolton Says

(Bloomberg) — All Iran has to do is walk through an “open door” to negotiations on a revised nuclear deal, President Donald Trump’s national security adviser said, as he sat down for a rare three-way meeting with Israeli and Russian officials on Tehran’s contentious footprint in Syria.

The weeks-long showdown between the U.S. and Iran intensified on Monday when President Donald Trump extended a raft of sanctions on the Iranian economy to include Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. Tehran said the new penalty shut the path to diplomacy, but in Jerusalem on Tuesday, Trump adviser John Bolton said the opportunity still existed.

“The president has held the door open for real negotiations to completely and verifiably eliminate Iran’s nuclear weapons program, its pursuit of ballistic missiles delivery systems, its support for international terrorism, and its other malign behavior worldwide,” he said. “All that Iran needs to do is to walk through that open door.”

Iran has rejected reopening the deal.

Syria Gaps

The meeting in Jerusalem will give the three countries an opportunity to try to narrow gaps on how they view Iran’s role in Syria as its eight-year civil war winds down.

Russia, which turned the war’s tide by militarily backing Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, wants to limit Iran’s competing influence in the country, but has rejected putting major pressure on the Islamic Republic. Israel and the U.S. want Iranian forces and their Lebanese Hezbollah proxy out of Syria entirely.

“Iran has been and remains our ally and partner,” Russian security council chief Nikolai Patrushev said in Jerusalem. “Any efforts to portray Tehran as the main threat to regional security” are “unacceptable for us.”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has vowed repeatedly not to let Iran and Hezbollah establish a permanent military presence in Syria, and at the news conference said Israel has “struck hundreds of times in Syria to prevent Iran from delivering sophisticated weaponry to Hezbollah or to form a second front against Israel.”

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