Iran spy chief Qassem Suleimani says talks with Donald Trump will never happen

The commander said the country's clerical establishment would never negotiate with Washington under economic pressure

Qassem Suleimani led the Quds Force before he was killed. AP
Qassem Suleimani led the Quds Force before he was killed. AP

The shadowy spy chief of Iran, Qassem Suleimani, said on Monday that the country would never enter into negotiations with US President Donald Trump under economic pressure, state-linked media reported.

"By putting economic pressure on Iran, America wants to force us to enter talks with this country ... any negotiation under the circumstances is surrendering to America and it will never happen," Maj Gen Suleimani was quoted as saying by Fars news agency.

President Donald Trump pulled the United States out of a 2015 nuclear deal last May and reimposed sanctions on Tehran.

Iran said on Sunday it could quit a treaty against the spread of nuclear weapons after the United States tightens sanctions, while an Iranian general said the US Navy was interacting as before with an elite military unit blacklisted by Washington.

Earlier this month, the United States blacklisted Irans elite Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) and demanded buyers of Iranian oil stop purchases by May or face sanctions.

"The Islamic Republic's choices are numerous, and the country's authorities are considering them ... and leaving NPT (nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty) is one of them," state broadcaster IRIB's website quoted Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif as saying.

Iran has threatened in the past to leave the NPT, as US President Donald Trump moved to scrap the 2015 deal with world powers – the United States, Russia, China, Germany, Britain and France.

Separately, Iran's armed forces chief of staff said the IRGC – which ensures security in Gulf waters and the Strait of Hormuz for Iran – had not observed any change in the US military's behaviour towards the elite force after the blacklisting.

"US warships are obliged to respond to the IRGC on the passage of the Strait of Hormuz ... and until yesterday they have been answering IRGC questions, and we have not seen change in their procedures," Maj Gen Mohammad Baqeri was quoted as saying on Sunday by the semi-official Fars news agency.

Updated: April 29, 2019 06:59 PM

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