September 25, 2018 / 8:41 AM / a month ago

Iran top aide dismisses U.S. meeting offer as 'Trump's dream'

LONDON (Reuters) - The top adviser to Iran’s Supreme Leader on Tuesday rejected a U.S. offer for top-level meetings, as both countries’ presidents were due to attend the U.N. General Assembly in New York.

FILE PHOTO: Ali Akbar Velayati, Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei's top adviser on international affairs, smiles as he listens to questions from the media during a news conference after meeting with Lebanon's Prime Minister Tammam Salam at the government palace in Beirut May 18, 2015. REUTERS/Mohamed Azakir

Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guards also kept up the anti-U.S. rhetoric in the build up to the U.N. session, calling President Donald Trump “evil and adventurous” and accusing him of waging economic war on Tehran.

Trump pulled out of an international nuclear deal with Iran in May, and has since started reinstating economic penalties and pressing other countries to stop buying Iranian oil.

Trump said in July he was ready to meet Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani without preconditions to negotiate a new deal.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo repeated the offer on Sunday and expanded it to Supreme leader Ayatollah Khamenei, telling Fox News: “That’s who’s running the show in Iran. I think that would be an important and interesting conversation.”

President Rouhani, seen as a moderate, has stopped short of ruling out meetings between the two countries. But he has come under increasing pressure from hardliners, including the Guards, since Trump withdrew from the 2015 nuclear accord.

Asked about the offer of talks, Khamenei’s top aide, Ali Akbar Velayati, said “Trump’s and Pompeo’s dream would never come to reality,” according to the IRNA news agency.

FILE PHOTO: Members of the Iranian revolutionary guard march during a parade to commemorate the anniversary of the Iran-Iraq war (1980-88), in Tehran, Iran, September 22, 2011. REUTERS/Stringer/File Photo

The Revolutionary Guards’ statement read: “The evil and adventurous American president has focused on an economic war and cruel sanctions to deviate the Iranian nation from the revolutionary values and its national interests.”

Iran curbed its nuclear activities in exchange for sanctions relief in the 2015 nuclear accord. Trump pulled out, saying the agreement did not go far enough.

But the other countries that signed it - who think the pact offers the best chance of stopping Iran developing a nuclear bomb - agreed on Monday to keep working to maintain trade with Tehran.

Separately, the Guards also said the Saturday’s attack on a military parade that killed 25 people was a “miscalculation by the enemies as this crime has only made the Iranian nation more united.”

Iran accused the United States of supporting the assailants who carried out the attack, but Washington has denied any prior knowledge of the incident.

Reporting by Bozorgmehr Sharafedin; Editing by Andrew Heavens

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