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Tuesday , September 22 2020

Iran sees no prospect of US talks

ZARIF TWEETS TEHRAN NOT SEEKING NUCLEAR WEAPONS

In this photo released by the Foreign Office, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, attends meeting with Pakistani officials at the Foreign Ministry in Islamabad, Pakistan, Friday, May 24, 2019. Zarif is in Pakistan Friday on a critically timed visit amid a crisis between Tehran and Washington and ahead of next week’s emergency Arab League meeting called by Saudi Arabia as regional tensions escalate.(Pakistan Foreign Office via AP)

LONDON, May 28, (Agencies): Iran sees no prospect of negotiations with the United States, a foreign ministry spokesman said on Tuesday, a day after US President Donald Trump said a deal with Tehran on its nuclear programme was possible.

Washington withdrew last year from a 2015 international nuclear deal with Tehran, and is ratcheting up sanctions in efforts to strangle Iran’s economy by ending its international sales of crude oil. Trump said on Monday: “I really believe that Iran would like to make a deal, and I think that’s very smart of them, and I think that’s a possibility to happen.” Asked about Trump’s comments in a news conference in Tehran, Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi was quoted as saying by the semi-official Fars news agency: “We currently see no prospect of negotiations with America.” “Iran pays no attention to words; What matters to us is a change of approach and behaviour.” Trump also said that United States was not looking for regime change in Iran, adding that “we are looking for no nuclear weapons.”

Iranian Vice-President Eshaq Jahangiri said on Tuesday the country was not allowed to pursue the development of nuclear weapon as this was banned by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran’s highest authority. Tensions have risen between Iran and the United States since Washington deployed a carrier strike group and bombers and announced plans to deploy 1,500 troops to the Middle East, prompting fears of a conflict.

Iran’s foreign minister appears unimpressed with Japan’s offer to mediate in a crisis between Tehran and Washington, and says President Trump should make his intentions clear about any talks with Iran through actions, not words. Zarif said in a late Monday tweet: “Actions_ not words_will show whether or not that’s Trump said Monday in Japan that he’d back Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s efforts to open a communication with Iran. Trump said: “I do believe Iran would like to talk and if they’d like to talk, we’ll talk also.” Iran has said it has no interest in negotiations with Washington following Trump’s pullout from the nuclear deal and reimposing sanctions on Iran. Zarif in his tweet also blamed Trump’s economic pressure on Iran for the regional tensions.

Zarif said on Monday Iran is not seeking nuclear weapons, which its supreme leader had banned in an edict, adding on Twitter that US policies were hurting the Iranian people and causing regional tensions. “Ayatollah (Ali) @khamenei_ir long ago said we’re not seeking nuclear weapons-by issuing a fatwa (edict) banning them,” Zarif said in a tweet. “(US) Economic Terrorism is hurting the Iranian people and causing tension in the region.” Iran’s influential Revolutionary Guard said Tuesday it doesn’t fear a possible war with the United States and claimed that America hasn’t grown in power in recent years – the latest tough talk from Tehran amid escalating regional tensions and a crisis with Washington.

“The enemy is not more powerful than before,” said the Guard spokesman, Gen Ramazan Sharif. Tensions between Washington and Tehran soared recently over America deploying an aircraft carrier and B-52 bombers to the Persian Gulf over a still unexplained threat it perceives from Tehran. The US also plans to send 900 additional troops to the Mideast and extending the stay of another 600 as tens of thousands of others also are on the ground across the region.

The crisis takes root in Trump’s withdrawal last year of the US from the 2015 nuclear deal between Tehran and world powers that capped Iran’s uranium enrichment activities in return to lifting sanctions. Washington subsequently reimposed sanctions on Iran, sending its economy into freefall.

Trump has argued that the deal failed to sufficiently curb Iran’s ability to develop nuclear weapons or halt its support for militias throughout the Middle East that the US says destabilize the region, as well as address the issue of Tehran’s missiles, which can reach both US regional bases and Israel. Speaking at a press conference in Tehran, Sharif said the Guard doesn’t “support engaging in any war” while at the same time it doesn’t “fear the occurrence of a war.” “We have enough readiness to defend the country,” he said, adding that Iran has boosted its military power over the past 30 years.

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