0519 GMT June 23, 2018
Iran said Monday that it remains dubious about the prospects for talks between the United States and North Korea, and warned Pyongyang to be highly vigilant about Washington's promises.
"As regards US behavior, approach and its intentions, we are highly skeptical and look at its actions with utter pessimism," Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Qassemi told reporters in Tehran. "For the time being we cannot be optimistic about the United States' behavior and its nature, and the government of North Korea must approach this issue with absolute vigilance," he added.
Qassemi said US President Donald Trump's actions in abandoning the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran and other international agreements, had shown he was an unreliable partner.
"Given what we know from the US track record and its history of behavior and relationship, especially from Mr. Trump, who in his presidency has taken steps based on sabotage, exiting agreements and breaching obligations, especially with regard to the JCPOA, we do not have an optimistic outlook toward this issue," he said.
Trump last month withdrew the US from the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, which the Obama administration had reached with Iran, Britain, France, Germany, China and Russia. The landmark agreement, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, required Iran to curb its uranium enrichment in exchange for relief from economic sanctions.
Following his withdrawal from the pact, Trump has announced the restoration of US sanctions, while European leaders are trying to preserve the deal.
"We would like peace, stability and security to be established on the Korean Peninsula like other places in the world and we welcome any step which helps this process and the economic development and prosperity of the region," the Iranian spokesman said, but he added that experience in dealing with the US and Trump had left it with "much pessimism".
Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un arrived in Singapore on Sunday for the first ever face-to-face meeting by leaders of two countries that have been enemies since the 1950-1953 Korean War, with the US demanding complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearization.
Trump said on Monday his summit with Kim could “work out very nicely” as officials from both countries met to narrow differences on how to end the nuclear standoff on the Korean Peninsula.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the preparatory talks moved quite rapidly “and we anticipate that they will come to their logical conclusion even more quickly than we anticipated.”
The summit provides “an unprecedented opportunity to change the trajectory of our relationship and bring peace and prosperity” to North Korea, Pompeo told a news conference on the eve of the summit.
However, he played down the possibility of a quick breakthrough and said the summit should set the framework for “the hard work that will follow”, insisting that North Korea had to move toward complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearization.
Sanctions on North Korea would remain in place until that had happened, Pompeo said. “If diplomacy does not move in the right direction...those measures will increase.”
Trump also called the leaders of South Korea and Japan in advance of the summit, Pompeo said.
Pompeo traveled twice to Pyongyang in recent months to lay the groundwork for Trump’s meeting, becoming the most senior member of Trump’s team to spend time with Kim face to face.
Although gaps remain over what denuclearization would entail, Trump sounded a positive note in a lunch meeting with Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.
“We’ve got a very interesting meeting ... tomorrow, and I just think it’s going to work out very nicely,” Trump said.
Kim remained ensconced in the heavily guarded St. Regis Hotel, where he is staying. There was also no sign of his sister, Kim Yo Jong, who has accompanied him to Singapore.
AFP, Reuters, AP and Press TV contributed to this story.