Iran’s supreme leader said Thursday that the U.S. would be powerless to stop Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons and said no further negotiations with American leaders are forthcoming.
“America could not do anything” to stop Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons, although the state terror sponsor is not currently seeking them, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei reportedly told Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe, who was visiting Tehran in an effort to ease tensions between Iran and the U.S.
Tehran “will in no way repeat” negotiations with the U.S., Khamenei reportedly also told Abe. “We have no doubt about your good will and seriousness, but . . . I don’t regard Trump as deserving any exchange of messages and have no response for him and will give no response.”
Meanwhile, two oil tankers – laden with “Japan-related cargo,” according to Japan’s Trade Ministry – were apparently attacked in the Gulf of Oman Thursday, suffering a series of explosions that injured crew members. The U.S. Navy responded to the disaster offering assistance.
“Suspicious doesn’t begin to describe what likely transpired this morning,” Iran’s foreign minister wrote on Twitter regarding the explosions.
In May of last year, President Trump pulled out of the Obama administration’s nuclear deal with Iran, which had given Tehran billions of dollars in relief from sanctions in exchange for a promise to curb its nuclear program. Since then, tensions have flared between the U.S. and Iran, escalating to a particularly high level in April, when Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced an end to the exemptions from U.S. sanctions on purchases of Iranian oil and gas that eight countries had been granted.
Last month, the Trump administration deployed four bombers as well as the USS Abraham Lincoln carrier-strike group to the Persian Gulf amid fears that Iran was transporting short-range ballistic missiles in the region.