TEHRAN: An Iranian military chief cautioned today that reaching an understanding with Washington, as suggested in a letter signed by a group of political activists, would spell the end of the Islamic republic.
"Today everybody knows that striking an understanding with the United States means the death of the Islamic republic," said General Mohammad Ali Jafari, commander of the elite Republican Guards, quoted by ISNA news agency.
"While we are not saying that it (the letter) amounts to treason, we must say that it opens the way to making concessions to the enemy," he said.
A pro-reformist newspaper, 'Etemad,' on Sunday, ran an article on a joint letter addressed to "senior authorities" from around 100 Iranian activists calling for Tehran to make "a gesture" towards direct negotiations with its longtime enemy.
Ties between Tehran and Washington, already severed in the wake of Iran's 1979 Islamic revolution, have deteriorated under US President Donald Trump.
In May, he pulled the United States out of a 2015 nuclear accord between world powers and Iran.
A signatory of the letter, Gholamhossein Karbaschi who heads a reformist party, told Etemad that it calls for Iran to say it is "ready to negotiate" if "the United States and Trump give assurances that they will never again renege on their commitments".
Also among the signatories was Abdolali Bazargan, a son of the Islamic republic's first prime minister Mehdi Bazargan, the paper said.