Iran MP calls for Tehran-US hotline to avoid escalation

By Ahmet Dursun

ANKARA (AA) – An Iranian lawmaker has suggested the establishment of a direct “hotline” between Tehran and Washington with a view to avoiding escalations between the two countries.

Speaking to local media outlets, Heshmatollah Falahatpisheh, head of Iran’s parliamentary national security committee, also described U.S. President Donald Trump’s stated willingness to hold talks as “positive”.

He went on to assert that a number of countries — he did not say which ones — were “benefiting” from the ongoing dispute between the U.S. and Iran.

According to Falahatpisheh, the establishment of a Tehran-Washington hotline would serve the national interests of both countries.

On Monday, Trump voiced his readiness to hold talks — without preconditions — with Iranian counterpart Hassan Rouhani.

Tension has steadily mounted between Tehran and Washington since May, when Trump unilaterally withdrew the U.S. from a 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and the P5+1 group of nations (the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany).

The deal had placed tight restrictions on Iran’s nuclear program in exchange for billions of dollars in sanctions relief.

During his electoral campaign in 2016, Trump had vociferously criticized the 2015 agreement, describing it as the “worst deal” he had ever seen.

Other members of the P5+1, however, say the deal in its current form still represents the best means of reigning in Iran's nuclear energy program.

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