United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Saturday that there are “no indications” that Iran’s regime is willing to change its “malign behavior” as the regime continues to act aggressively on the world stage.

“In the end, the Iranians, the regime, has to make a decision that it wants to behave like a normal nation,” Secretary Pompeo told reporters during a press conference with Ecuadorian president Lenín Moreno. “And if they do that, we’re prepared to negotiate across a broad spectrum of issues with no preconditions and I hope that they will do that.”

Secretary Pompeo added that the U.S. has tried to de-escalate the situation and create the space for negotiations, but added that “we have seen no indications that the Iranians are prepared to fundamentally change the direction of their nation, to do the things we’ve asked them to do with their nuclear program, their missile program, their malign behavior around the world,” Fox News reported.

The Secretary of State’s remarks came one day after Iran’s regime seized a British-flagged oil tanker in the Strait of Hormuz. Senior Iranian regime officials said that the seizure of the Stena Impero as well as the brief detainment of a second UK-flagged vessel were a “reciprocal” measure for the July 4 seizure of an Iranian tanker by British Royal Marines off the island of Gibraltar.

That contradicted the message put out by the regime’s state-run news agency IRNA that claimed the British vessel was seized because it rammed an Iranian fishing boat.

British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt said Saturday that he had spoken with the mullahs’ Foreign Minister Javad Zarif, and “it’s clear from talking to him and also statements made by Iran that they see this as a tit-for-tat situation … Nothing could be further from the truth.”

Hunt said the Iranian tanker Grace1 violated European Union sanctions by carrying oil to Syria, making its detention in the waters of a British territory legal.

“The Stena Impero was seized in Omani waters in clear contravention of international law,” Hunt said. “It was then forced to sail into Iran. This is totally and utterly unacceptable …”

“Our priority continues to be to find a way to de-escalate the situation,” the foreign secretary went on. ” … But, we need to see due process happening in Iran as well. We need to see the illegal seizing of a British-flagged vessel reversed, we need that ship released, and we continue to be very concerned about the safety and welfare of the 23 crew members.”

Iranian opposition leader Maryam Rajavi said on Saturday: “The mullahs’ unbridled actions in the Persian Gulf for blackmail need a firm response by the international community. They should not be allowed to be emboldened. Force &firmness are the language they understand well. They must not be given the chance for further blackmail.”

Maritime security in the Strait of Hormuz has deteriorated in recent weeks after six attacks on oil tankers that the U.S. has blamed on Iran’s regime. The U.S. pulled out of the 2015 Iran nuclear deal last year and has imposed waves of economic sanctions on Tehran as part of an effort to curb Iranian aggression in the region.

Source » ncr-iran