Iran Offers Mixed Message After Backing Away From Conflict With U.S.

Charles Michel, president of the European Council, the European Union’s decision-making body, said he had spoken to Iran’s president on Thursday, according to a statement, and “expressed hopes that there will be no further attempts to increase tensions in the region leading to a de-escalation of the situation.”

The statement also noted that the European Union was dedicated to preserving the 2015 nuclear agreement Iran had negotiated with the governments of the United States, Britain, China, France, Germany and Russia.

In his speech on Wednesday pulling back from the brink of war, Mr. Trump appeared to open a small window for diplomacy with Iran even as he urged other countries to turn their backs on the nuclear agreement and promised further, unspecified sanctions against Iran.

Iran’s ambassador to the United Nations, Majid Takht-Ravanchi, said Mr. Trump’s offer to cooperate with Iran was “unbelievable” and that negotiations between the two countries would be meaningless if the United States continued aggression against Iran. The American sanctions against Iran amounted to “economic terrorism,” he added in an interview with the Iranian state news outlet IRNA.

The United States justified the drone strike that killed General Suleimani in a letter on Wednesday to the Security Council, calling the action self-defense, according to Reuters. Under the United Nations Charter, countries are required to immediately report to the Security Council any measures taken in self-defense.

In the letter, the American ambassador to the United Nations, Kelly Craft, said the United States stood “ready to engage without preconditions in serious negotiations with Iran, with the goal of preventing further endangerment of international peace and security or escalation by the Iranian regime.”

Elisabetta Povoledo contributed reporting.

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