US State Department Denies Sending Delegations to Tehran for Negotiations
US State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus said the United States had not been silent about its public messages to Iran.
She denied that Washington had sent any special signals or delegations, saying that her country had nothing to hide from its position on tension with Iran.
At a press briefing Thursday night, Ortagus said Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had expressed this view to the Senate and during his hearings with Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan.
She confirmed that Pompeo - during his visit to Baghdad and his meetings with his European counterparts in Brussels - sent clear messages to Tehran about the threats it poses. Ortagus noted that the US asked each concerned party to encourage Iran to refrain from escalation, “and we have also taken steps to deter it.”
The official also denied that Washington had sent delegations to Tehran carrying messages to its officials, saying that her administration was very open with its public messages and valued any effort by US allies to help ease tensions with Iran.
“We were clear that the Iranian regime should realize that the only way to get out of this situation is to negotiate a new and more comprehensive deal, including the 12 steps set by Minister Pompeo.... We still hope that they make the right choice,” she said.
The State Department's response came hours after a spokesman for Iran’s Supreme National Security Council announced that his country had received US letters from foreign officials who had visited Tehran.
“There will be no negotiations between Iran and America,” Iranian Supreme National Security Council spokesman Keyvan Khosravi said on Thursday.
State television also quoted Khosravi as saying that some officials from a number of countries had visited Iran recently, “most of them representing the United States.”