Iran's supreme leader announced today that "there will be no talks with the US at any level" — remarks apparently meant to end all speculation about a possible US-Iran meeting between the two countries' presidents at the UN later this month.
Iranian state TV quoted Ayatollah Ali Khamenei as saying this is the position of the entire leadership of the country and that "all officials in the Islamic Republic unanimously believe" this.
"There will be no talks with the US at any level," he said.
There had been reports about a possible meeting between President Donald Trump and his Iranian counterpart, Hassan Rouhani, during the upcoming UN General Assembly this month in New York.
But tensions roiling the Persian Gulf have escalated following a weekend attack on major oil sites in Saudi Arabia that the US alleged Iran was responsible for — a charge Iran denies.
The attack — which set ablaze a crucial Saudi oil processing plant and a key oil field — was claimed by Iranian-allied Houthi rebels, who are at war with a Saudi-led coalition that is trying to restore Yemen's internationally recognised government to power.
Trump declared yesterday it "looks" like Iran was behind the explosive attack on the Saudi oil facilities. But he stressed that military retaliation was not yet on the table in response to the strike against a key US Mideast ally.
Oil prices soared worldwide amid the damage in Saudi Arabia and fresh Middle East war concerns.
But Trump put the brakes on any talk of quick military action — earlier he had said the US was "locked and loaded" — and he said the oil impact would not be significant on the US, which is a net energy exporter.
The Saudi government called the attack an "unprecedented act of aggression and sabotage" but stopped short of directly pinning blame on Iran.