Khamenei to Abe: Trump ‘not worthy of exchanging messages’

Tehran: Iran’s supreme leader told visiting Japanese prime minister on Thursday he does not consider US President Donald Trump “worthy” of exchanging messages with.

“We have no doubt in your good will and seriousness but regarding what you said the US president told you, I don’t consider Trump as a person worthy of exchanging messages with,” Ayatollah Ali Khamenei told Shinzo Abe, in footage of their meeting aired by state television in a rarity for such high-level talks.

“I have no response for him and will not answer him,” he added.

Iran “has no trust in America and will not in any way repeat the bitter experience of the previous negotiations with America,” Khamenei said in comments published by his official website.

Iran has been locked in a bitter standoff with the United States since May last year when Trump abandoned a landmark 2015 nuclear deal negotiated by his predecessor Barack Obama’s administration.

Washington has since reimposed crippling unilateral sanctions — which have forced Tokyo to halt its once-substantial purchases of Iranian oil — and has launched a military buildup in the Gulf that has sent tensions soaring.

“President Trump has said he does not wish to see escalation of tensions,” Abe told reporters after his meeting.

“I shared candidly with Ayatollah Khamenei my own views about what intention the president has in mind”, Abe added, emphasising he had “exchanged views with President Trump several times”.

Abe said he believed his meeting with Khamenei was “a significant step forward” for “securing peace and stability of this region.”