- The Washington Times - Tuesday, July 2, 2019

Iran’s former deputy defense minister is challenging the country’s leadership, arguing that Tehran should consider seriously President Trump’s offer for direct negotiations, according to the state-controlled Iranian IRNA news agency.

Ex-Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps naval commander Hossein Alaei told IRNA Sunday that Tehran should keep communication lines open with Washington, RadioLiberty reported.

“We have to use the tools of power, meaning negotiations,” Mr. Alaei said. “We can’t leave aside talks, but how to talk is another issue.”

Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei has dropped all considerations to enter negotiations with Mr. Trump, who has said he would be willing to negotiate with Iran, despite enforcing “maximum pressure” on the country, according to IRNA.

Mr. Alaei is the latest figure to voice popular discontent with conditions in Iran today and to urge a different approach to Washington.

Just last month, more than 200 Iranian activists challenged the Iranian government and the U.S. to open negotiations in order to prevent a “destructive war” between the two nations, RFE/RL reported.

“Negotiations do not mean surrender,” the activists said, according to IRNA. “Politicians should not base foreign policy on their views, which the majority of people are opposed to.”

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