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Pompeo says Tehran hasn't accepted his offer to speak directly to Iranian people


US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo on Sunday said that the Iranian regime has declined his offer to travel to the country and speak directly to its people.
"I recently offered to travel to Tehran and speak directly to the Iranian people. The regime hasn't accepted my offer," the State Secretary said on Twitter.
"We aren't afraid of @JZarif coming to America where he enjoys the right to speak freely. Are the facts of the @khamenei_ir regime so bad he cannot let me do the same thing in Tehran? What if his people heard the truth, unfiltered, unabridged?" he added.
Zarif visited New York earlier this month for a UN meeting, giving several interviews with US broadcasters.
Commenting on his visiting Iran, Pompeo last week reportedly told a US tabloid that he would go there "not to spread propaganda", but to "speak the truth to the Iranian people about what it is the leadership has done and how it has harmed Iran."
The remarks came as diplomats from countries that signed the 2015 nuclear deal met in Vienna on Sunday in an attempt to salvage the agreement. The United States withdrew from the agreement last year, damaging relations between Tehran and Washington.
Tensions between Iran and the West have escalated in recent months, following several attacks on oil tankers in the Gulf, as well as the seizure of vessels.
Meanwhile, CEO of Iran's Press TV, Peyman Jebelli, earlier in the day said it has no plans to interview Pompeo, Xinhua news agency reported.
"We have neither made a request to have an interview with U.S. Secretary of State Pompeo nor have any plan to arrange such interview," Jebelli was quoted as saying.
His remarks came after Ali Rabiei, the spokesman for the Iranian government, said earlier in the day that if Pompeo is willing to talk to Iranian reporters, and he can have an interview with the Press TV correspondent and anchor, Marzieh Hashemi.
Hashemi, 59, an American-born Muslim who has been living in Iran for years, was detained by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) at the international airport in St. Louis, Missouri, on January 13 while making a family visit.
A federal US court order confirmed that she was arrested on a "material witness" warrant and was not accused of any crime.
However, the arrest caused an outburst from Iranian officials who described the decision as a "political game" amid rising tensions between the US and Iran, Sputnik reported.
While she was released after 10 days without charge, Press TV claims she was discriminated against by the American prison system, being denied halal food, forced to eat pork, and having her hijab pulled off her.

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First Published: Jul 29 2019 | 7:14 AM IST

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